The best Delhi can hope for is air qual­ity to stay in ‘very poor’ range

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES CITY | THAT CHOKING SENSATION -

New Delhi: The air qual­ity in­dex (AQI) on Satur­day clocked 401, an improve­ment from the pre­vi­ous day’s 423, but still in the ‘se­vere’ cat­e­gory. By 9pm, it went up fur­ther and reached 450.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Sys­tem of Air Qual­ity and Weather Fore­cast­ing And Re­search (SAFAR), the over­all air qual­ity in­dex of Delhi has im­proved and likely to go back to the ‘very poor’ range against all ad­verse weather con­di­tions. “The level may not im­prove fur­ther as weather con­di­tions are still un­favourable,” a SAFAR sci­en­tist said.

“As pre­dicted, the stub­ble burn­ing in­tru­sion was not ex­pected due to slow up­per winds but the un­favourable weather made dis­per­sion very slow and could have ag­gra­vated pol­lu­tion lev­els as a re­sult of nor­mal lo­cally gen­er­ated emis­sions dur­ing night,” the sci­en­tist said.

“The bias in pre­dicted and ob­served pol­lu­tion level in­di­cates a loss in lo­cal emis­sions (means less PM pro­duc­tion), but al­ready ac­cu­mu­lated pol­lu­tion con­tin­ued to dis­perse slowly to im­prove the air qual­ity to match with SAFARpre­dicted lev­els of zero ex­ter­nal fire emis­sion,” he said, adding that at present the con­tri­bu­tion of stub­ble fire emis­sions is mar­ginal.

“There is heavy fire count but very weak winds (north­west­erly) and thereby un­likely to im­pact Delhi air sig­nif­i­cantly. The stub­ble fire share is also low, at 7%, un­der fair Of 40 sta­tions that mon­i­tor air qual­ity in NCR, 26 were in the se­vere zone. In the other 14, the air was very poor. This data is for 9pm and fig­ures will vary widely from over­all men­tioned else­where weather con­di­tions,” a SAFAR anal­y­sis stated.

On Fri­day, the rise in the pol­lu­tion lev­els in the past 24 hours is pri­mar­ily due to low tem­per­a­tures, slug­gish wind speed and winds blow­ing in from the north-west.

Ac­cord­ing to its pre­dic­tion sys­tem, Delhi’s av­er­age PM2.5 level, hov­er­ing around 246 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre, could come down to 222 on Sun­day, while the PM10 level, recorded at 412 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre, could jump to 350.

Along­side the cap­i­tal, neigh­bour­ing Farid­abad, Ghazi­abad, Greater Noida and Noida all had air clas­si­fied as ‘se­vere’, with only Gur­gaon marginally bet­ter in the ‘very poor’ range with an AQI of 363.

CPCB’s cen­tral con­trol room data showed Delhi-NCR’s av­er­age PM2.5 and PM10 on Satur­day reach­ing over four times the safe stan­dard. While PM2.5 at 6pm clocked 261.1mg/m3, PM10 at the same time stayed at 416.4mg/m3. This, how­ever, is an improve­ment from Fri­day when the lev­els went over the “emer­gency” limit of 300 and 500 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre, re­spec­tively.

On Satur­day, 1,559 heavy and medium goods ve­hi­cles were checked and 1,078 were al­lowed en­try from 11pm on Fri­day till 6am on Satur­day as they were car­ry­ing es­sen­tial goods, said joint com­mis­sioner of po­lice (traf­fic) Alok Ku­mar. He added that as many as 481 ve­hi­cles were re­turned from the Delhi borders.

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