A day after air quality in the capital touched ‘very poor’, a light drizzle and gusts of winds brought it back down to ‘poor’. The air quality index value was recorded at 297 Thursday. It was 313 on Wednesday. The city experienced thunderstorm and light rain at around 2 pm, bringing down the concentration of pollutants. On Thursday, the PM 2.5 concentration at India Gate was the highest at 8 am — at 210 micrograms per cubic metre, which is three-and-a-half times more than the acceptable standard of 60 micrograms per cubic metre. The concentration came down to 33 micrograms per cubic metre at 3 pm. The relief, however, was short-lived as the concentration of toxic particles started to increase again and touched 91 micrograms per cubic metre at 7 pm. According to the Ministry of Earth Science’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the coming two days will again see a spike in pollutant levels.
On Thursday evening, according to SAFAR, the average PM 2.5 concentration for the city shot up to 140 µg/m3, taking the air quality to ‘very poor’ again. According to the forecast, air quality will touch ‘very poor’ on Friday and Saturday. Pointing fingers at the Centre, Punjab and Haryana for failing to stop crop residue burning, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, “We have reached a serious situation… despite residents experiencing the best air quality this year so far in comparison to the air quality of previous years. This was made possible due to the collective efforts of the government and the residents.”
Sisodia added that the states had made no efforts to curb crop residue burning: “Air pollution is not a localised problem and no wall can be built to prevent it… it is beyond any reasonable understanding why no concrete efforts were made to prevent crop residue burning in Punjab and Haryana, despite several assurances by the central government and governments of these states for a whole year.”
Meanwhile, regions in NCR saw very poor air quality.
Gurgaon, according to the Central Pollution Control Board’s Air Quality Index, recorded a value of 373, the worst in Delhi- NCR. Ghaziabad fared slightly better with an AQI of 330, while Noida recorded AQI of 316. According to IMD officials, it is unlikely that wind speed will pick up in the coming 3-4 days.
“No rain is expected in the coming week and only mild wind is expected to blow throughout the day. During the night, winds are expected to be calm,” said an official of the India Meteorological Department.