Delhi’s Air Quality Worsens ‘Severe’ Category as Temperature Drop

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Air pollution levels in Delhi worsened on Friday due to unfavourable meteorological conditions such as low temperature and slow wind speed with the air quality index reading 406 which comes under the ‘severe’ category. The AQI is expected to improve from November 29 due to high wind speed.

Local surface winds are likely to increase slightly for the next two days dispersing pollutants leading to a slight improvement in the air pollution, but the AQI will be in the ‘higher end of very poor’ category. The share of stubble burning in Delhi’s PM2.5 pollutants is eight per cent.

“Mixing layer height and wind are the dominant factors controlling air quality. From November 29 significant improvement in AQI is expected due to high wind speed,” said the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality monitor SAFAR. Neighbouring Faridabad (423), Ghaziabad (378), Greater Noida (386), Gurgaon (379) and Noida (394) also saw a dip in air quality on Friday evening.

The air quality in the national capital has remained ‘very poor’ or ‘severe’ on most of the days in November so far. Delhi recorded the lowest air pollution levels in terms of the 24-hour average quality index on November 1 (AQI 281) and November 23 (AQI 290).

An AQI between zero 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’. Delhi on Friday recorded a maximum temperature of 27.6 degrees Celsius, two notches above the season’s average and a low of 11 degrees Celsius, normal for this time of the year. Humidity levels oscillated between 95 per cent and 48 per cent.

The weatherman has forecast mainly clear sky for Saturday with the maximum and minimum temperatures likely to settle around 27 degrees Celsius and 10 degrees Celsius. There will be shallow fog on Saturday morning.

The Delhi government on Thursday reimposed the ban on construction and demolition activities following the Supreme Court’s order. The apex court reimposed the ban on construction activities in Delhi-NCR on Wednesday until further orders. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the workers affected by the ban on construction activities will be provided financial assistance of Rs 5,000 each and his government will also compensate them for the loss of minimum wages.

The ban on construction and demolition activities was lifted on Monday in view of an improvement in the air quality and the inconvenience caused to the workers. The Delhi government on Wednesday decided to resume physical classes in schools, colleges and other educational institutions and reopen government offices from November 29.

The ban on the entry of trucks, barring those engaged in essential services, will continue till December 3. However, “CNG and electric trucks will be allowed to enter Delhi from November 27”. On November 13, the city government had ordered the closure of all educational institutes, banned construction and demolition activities and asked its employees to work from home to combat air pollution and minimise its health effects.

Four days later, it extended the restrictions, besides banning the entry of trucks carrying non-essential items in Delhi.

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