Delhi’s Tragedic Air Pollution

Pollution levels continued to be severe on Monday as the city woke up to another smoggy morning. According to SAFAR, nearly all stations in Delhi had Air Quality Index at a maximum of 500.

However, the sun came out as the day progressed and the city’s air quality marginally improved as wind speed picked up dispersing the pollutants and the thick cover of haze that had kept the city shrouded for nearly a week.

Monitoring agency System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) showed 24-hour-average (rolling) level of respirable pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 in the “severe” category at 622 and 808 micrograms cubic metre respectively at 5pm.

The 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was 423, as against Sunday’s 497, which was the season’s worst.

“The air quality has improved due to increase in wind speed, although the wind direction continues to be north-northwest. By Wednesday, wind speed is likely to increase some more and wind direction will also be easterly which is likely to further improve the air quality and turn it very poor from severe,” project director of SAFAR Gufran Beig said.

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“Winds are coming from north-north west, the areas where biomass burning is taking place, from Thursday. Friday changed it a bit thereby bringing a bit of relief but then again it got worse,” he said.

The wind direction is important from the point of view of stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana which falls in the North West region. Wind blowing from that direction brings pollutant-laden smoke to Delhi.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s (DPCC) real-time readings displayed a downward trend cutting across its monitoring stations.

The city’s pollution hotspot Anand Vihar had a PM10 reading of 1,640 micrograms per cubic metre at 4am. It came down to 580 by 5pm while PM2.5 was at 145 micrograms per cubic metre.

At Punjabi Bagh, PM10 came down to 214 micrograms per cubic metre at 5pm from a high of 1270 recorded at 10am.

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