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Delhi’s air quality poor for third day in a row, no respite for next 7 days

In the NCR, Faridabad, Greater Noida, Noida and Gurgaon recorded ‘poor’ AQI on Friday, while Ghaziabad’s AQI was in the ‘very poor’ category along with Panipat and Meerut.

Delhi’s air quality dips; may slip further if crackers are burnt, say scientistsThe SAFAR system has predicted that the air quality will fall further to the edge of the ‘very poor’ to ‘severe’ category by Thursday night even if there are no firecracker emissions. (File)

For the third consecutive day, Delhi’s air quality remained in the ‘poor’ category on Friday. The Air Quality Index (AQI) has been deteriorating over the past few days – from 232 on Wednesday, 268 on Thursday, to 283 on Friday, with PM 10 and PM 2.5 as the main pollutants.

According to the Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi, air quality is likely to remain in the lower end of the ‘very poor’ category over the weekend as well as the subsequent five days.

Some monitoring stations in the city recorded an AQI of ‘very poor’ as a 24-hour average on Friday. Of the 35 monitoring stations for which data was available as of 5 pm, 11 recorded ‘very poor’ AQI, including stations at Anand Vihar, Alipur, Bawana, Chandni Chowk, Jahangirpuri, Dwarka, Mundka and Wazirpur. AQI from 201 to 300 is considered ‘poor,’ and 301 to 400 is categorised as ‘very poor.’

In the NCR, Faridabad, Greater Noida, Noida and Gurgaon recorded ‘poor’ AQI on Friday, while Ghaziabad’s AQI was in the ‘very poor’ category along with Panipat and Meerut.

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The share of crop residue burning to PM 2.5 levels in Delhi was at 20% on Friday, according to the SAFAR forecasting system. The wind direction, which is northwesterly, is favourable for transport of pollutants from stubble burning into Delhi.

The Central Pollution Control Board had directed Thursday that steps listed under the ‘very poor’ category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) be implemented in Delhi with immediate effect. These measures include stopping the use of diesel generator sets except for emergencies, hiking parking fees by 3-4 times, stopping use of coal and firewood in hotels, ensuring that RWAs provide electric heaters to security staff to avoid open burning, and daily mechanical sweeping of roads.

This is in addition to the measures that were already in place from October 18 onwards under the ‘moderate’ to ‘poor’ categories of the GRAP, including strictly stopping garbage burning, enforcement of dust control measures at construction sites, ensuring smooth flow of traffic, and enforcing the ban on firecrackers.

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In its order on Thursday, the CPCB’s sub-committee on GRAP noted that the winds are likely to be northwesterly till November 1, and the minimum temperature is likely to be at 14 to 15 degrees Celsius with increased moisture, making the dispersal of pollutants difficult.

First published on: 29-10-2021 at 19:33 IST
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