Delhi’s air quality deteriorated Tuesday and is likely to reach the ‘very poor’ category Wednesday, aided by calm wind speed, low temperature and reduced intensity of sunlight, air and weather monitoring agencies said.
The situation is likely to worsen Thursday and Friday, as accumulation of pollutants may further push Delhi’s air quality to the lower end of the ‘severe’ category, as per the Centre’s air quality monitoring agency SAFAR.
“Calm winds and low ventilation index are forecast for the next two days. Conditions are conducive for sudden accumulation of pollutants in the Delhi region,” a SAFAR report said.
The 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of Delhi was 242 Tuesday (poor), up from 214 Monday. In NCR , Ghaziabad had already reached the ‘very poor’ range with 330 AQI, while Noida and Gurgaon had 256 and 125 AQI in the ‘poor’ and ‘moderate’ category.
On Wednesday, surface level wind speed is expected to drop down below 6 kmph in Delhi, said IMD scientist Kuldeep Srivastava. As a result, dispersion of pollutants would be lesser and a high cloud expected over the city and parts of NCR could reduce the sunlight’s intensity, causing an accumulation of pollutants he added.
SAFAR is also anticipating a spike in stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, smoke from which will likely travel to Delhi as Northwesterly winds are blowing over the city. However, a fresh Western disturbance will increase wind speed and improve ventilation by November 23, the report added.