Pollution: Slight improvement in air quality due to strong winds in the capital

New Delhi: The air quality in the national capital improved marginally on Saturday due to intensification of wind speed, which is likely to reduce pollution further in the next two days. According to the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) SAMEER app, the city’s air quality index (AQI) stood at 449 in the severe category at 8 am on Saturday. On Friday it was 462.

AQI between zero and 50 is ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’ and 401 and 500 ‘very poor’ considered serious. Delhi’s air quality remained the worst in five years after the festival, with massive bursting of crackers on Diwali on Thursday despite restrictions and a rise in stubble burning incidents in neighboring states.

The city’s AQI slipped to the ‘severe’ category on Thursday night and touched 462 in the afternoon on Friday. The Met Office has predicted strong winds that will help flush out pollutants in the city’s air on Saturday. The air quality in Delhi-NCR has deteriorated due to adverse weather conditions, calm winds, low temperature and low mixing height and a toxic cocktail of firecrackers, stubble burning and emissions from local sources, experts said.

SAFAR, the air quality forecasting agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said stubble burning accounted for 36 per cent of Delhi’s PM 2.5 on Friday, the highest ever this season. Delhi witnessed a chilly morning on Saturday as the city recorded a minimum temperature of 14.7 degrees Celsius, which is normal for the season. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Saturday that the city will see partly cloudy sky with light to moderate fog in the morning and strong winds during the day.

The maximum temperature is likely to be around 28 degree Celsius. The IMD said that at 8.30 am the humidity was 78 per cent. Meteorologists said the fog and haze conditions have improved in Delhi-NCR as predicted. The Meteorological Office said that two airports in Delhi experienced scattered fog from 5.30 am to 9.30 am with visibility in the range of 600 to 800 metres.

(with agency inputs)