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Thursday, October 22, 2020

For fourth straight day, Delhi grapples with poor air, may improve this week

The 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of the city on Saturday was 221, the highest mark it has reached since ‘poor’ air days began Wednesday onwards.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: October 11, 2020 9:48:45 am
delhi pollution, delhi air pollution, delhi air condition, delhi air quality, delhi aqi, delhi pollution measures, delhi city newsAccording to officials, the lab, set up under the Environment and Sustainability Wing, will be responsible for compiling and analysing all the data related to enforcement of the GRAP.

Delhi’s air quality deteriorated further and was recorded in the ‘poor’ category for the fourth day in a row on Saturday but is forecast to marginally improve by Sunday and in the coming week.

The 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of the city on Saturday was 221, the highest mark it has reached since ‘poor’ air days began Wednesday onwards.

Factors including low wind speed and low night-time temperatures along with increasing concentration of dust and other particulate matter from internal and external sources are causing the spike in pollution levels.

A forecast from the Central government’s SAFAR air quality and weather forecasting agency said the AQI would marginally improve to the ‘moderate’ category Sunday onwards.

“A low pressure formed over the Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify and move west-northwestwards and influence the circulations in north and central India. A shift in Delhi’s surface wind direction from northwesterly to southeasterly by October 12 is forecast. This could influence air quality positively in the coming week,” the SAFAR forecast said.

Due to this low-pressure system, there is also a possibility of isolated showers, which the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast for parts of western Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Rainfall would bring down pollutants suspended in the air. However, as of Saturday the forecast for Delhi for the next four days is ‘dry’. The city is expected to see cloudy skies Tuesday onwards until Friday, as per the IMD forecast.

Increasing farm fires have been observed in Haryana and Punjab as farmers clear their fields by setting fire to the paddy stubble left after harvest.

Punjab has seen 1,926 fire counts between September 21 and October 9, as per data from the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, which is higher than 553 recorded in the same period last year. Haryana has observed 804 fire counts so far between September 25 and October 9.

Until Friday, the wind direction over Delhi was from the northwest, which was favourable for transporting pollutants from the farm fires. However, as per the SAFAR forecast, the wind direction has changed to south-easterly and farm fires are having a “marginal impact” on Delhi’s air quality.

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