If you stepped out on the streets of Delhi over the last week, you could experience, feel and smell the severely poor quality air that is hovering over the capital. Delhi is choking.
Air quality data over the last 17 months just confirms that.
As The Hindu had reported earlier, there was not even a single day of ‘good’ quality air, as of date, in the entire of 2016. But what Delhi experienced in the first week of November is unprecedented.
We looked at publicly available air quality data (PM 2.5 concentration) from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for five monitoring stations across Delhi: Punjabi Bagh, RK Puram, Mandir Marg, Anand Vihar and Shadipur.
Across all stations, the highest level of PM 2.5 concentration was witnessed in the previous week — way more than that on Diwali night of both 2015 and 2016.
Check the graph of the station that is nearest to you to know the quality of air that you have been breathing. The higher the concentration of PM2.5 in the air, the more harmful it is for your health.
The green region in the following charts shows the permissible level of particulate matter — PM 2.5 concentration less than 60 µg/m3. First, look at Anand Vihar, located in East Delhi. The air quality in this region is the worst among all. On 5th and 6th November, PM 2.5 concentration was 783 and 858 µg/m3 — around 1.7 times that of the previous peak observed in January this year when the concentration was at 520 µg/m3.
In West Delhi, lie Shadipur and Punjabi Bagh. Trends are similar.
Towards the South West, we have RK Puram station. Six of the seven worst days in the last 17 months fell in the last week itself, starting on the day of Diwali.
Mandir Marg station in Central Delhi is no different.
Over the year, air pollution in Delhi shows marked regional variation. This time, however, air quality has surpassed the regional divide — it’s extremely poor air all across.