March 31, 2021 1:33:13 am
Dust-laden winds from Rajasthan engulfed Delhi Tuesday, pushing the air quality into the ‘poor’ category, which is expected to continue until Thursday.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said strong winds of up to 50 kmph were aiding the transport of dust to Delhi from the neighbouring state.
This was noted a day after Delhi recorded a severe heatwave, when temperature soared to a high of 40.1 degrees Celsius, eight degrees above normal for this time of the year.
Kuldeep Srivastava, head of IMD’s regional weather forecasting centre, said, “There’s a cyclonic circulation over Rajasthan, which is leading to strong winds that are carrying dust from there to western Uttar Pradesh. These winds should subside in a day or two as the cyclonic circulation starts moving eastwards.”
Concentration of particulate matter of 10 micrometres (PM10) — coarse particles suspended in the air, mainly comprising dust — increased three times above acceptable limit on Tuesday in Delhi.
As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), PM10 level at 5pm in Delhi-NCR was 341 µg/m3, much higher than the 24-hour exposure limit of 100 µg/m3. The concentration of PM2.5 — fine particles in the air that are smaller in size and released from combustion activities — was about 105 µg/m3, higher than the 24-hour exposure limit of 60 µg/m3.
V K Soni, head of the IMD’s Environment Monitoring and Research Centre, said higher concentration of PM10 pollutants in the air showed that dust particles were making a significant impact on air quality.
Delhi’s 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) on Tuesday, as per the CPCB, was 232 in the ‘poor’ category, higher than 225 recorded on Monday.
A bulletin from the Centre’s Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi stated the AQI is likely to deteriorate and remain between the ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ category on Wednesday and Thursday.
Meanwhile, Srivastava said strong winds will also help in preventing mercury from rising further. The maximum temperature recorded in Delhi on Tuesday was 37.9 degrees Celsius, lower than 40.1 degrees a day earlier.
Maximum temperature is forecast to fall further up to 34 degrees by April 2, as per the IMD.
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