Air quality falls to ‘poor’ level in Delhi

A farmer burning stubble on the Yamuna riverbed. File  

The air quality of the city deteriorated to ‘poor’ level on Saturday and is expected to remain the same on Sunday, according to authorities.

In many parts of Delhi such as Anand Vihar, Bawana and Punjabi Bagh, the air quality dropped to ‘very poor’ category.

Rise in stubble burning

The contribution of stubble burning in neighbouring States to the rising PM2.5, a chief pollutant, in Delhi increased to 14% on Saturday, according to government-run monitoring agency SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research).

Also, the number of fire counts in the region jumped to 1,572 on Saturday from close to 500 on Friday, said SAFAR. This is more than the fire counts recorded in this period last year.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi was 284 on Saturday, up from 198 on Friday, stated the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) 4 p.m. bulletin, which is an average of the past 24 hours.

By 7 p.m., the AQI further worsened to ‘very poor’ category with a reading of 305, according to the real-time data of the CPCB.

“Fire counts are gradually increasing and the wind direction is favourable, coming from the north-west direction. Under the influence of approaching western disturbance, wind reversal to easterly will happen by tomorrow (Sunday) and rainfall is likely. The AQI is forecasted to improve but will remain in poor (category) for tomorrow, but thereafter it is likely to be moderate for the next three days,” SAFAR said in a statement.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.

Air pollution in Delhi rises during the winter chiefly due to a combined effect of stubble burning in neighbouring States and climatic conditions, which lower wind speed and trap pollutants.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 9:04:42 PM |

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