Delhi recorded the highest levels of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and PM 10 Wednesday, with the National Air Quality Index (AQI) peaking this year, according to scientists from the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ SAFAR. A thick smog cover also enveloped the capital.
Dr Gufran Beig, project director of SAFAR, said “The 24-hour average for PM 2.5 was 295 micrograms per cubic metre and for PM 10 it was 470 micrograms per cubic metre…both were in the severe category”. Levels of particulate matter have spiked sharply from December 21, according to SAFAR data.
Dense fog was also reported at the Indira Gandhi Airport Wednesday morning, with visibility dropping to 100 metres between 5.30 am and 9 am.
“This was followed by smog in the afternoon, which led to visibility being restricted to below 1,200 metres the whole day,” said Dr R K Jenamani, head of IGI airport’s Met office.
Scientists have attributed this to the accumulation of pollutants, triggered by weather conditions. “There were light winds from around 2 pm on December 22 till midnight and local moisture accumulation. This, along with higher amount of pollutants, led to dense fog,” said Dr Jenamani.
The Meteorological department has said that these factors could lead to denser fog on Thursday morning.