City air quality plunges to ‘severe’ category

| | New Delhi
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City air quality plunges to ‘severe’ category

Friday, 01 December 2023 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

Delhi’s air quality deteriorated to the severe category on Thursday morning even as generally overcast weather and light rain were expected. An average Air Quality Index (AQI) of 420 was recorded at 8am compared to 366 (very poor) a day, which settled at 398 at 4 pm, earlier. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data showed PM.25 was highest on Thursday.  The air quality is likely to remain 'very poor' over the next six days.

Meanwhile, the minimum temperature in the national capital settled at 12.6 degrees Celsius on Thursday, two notches above the season's average. A maximum temperature of 24°C was expected on Thursday.  According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), shallow fog may be expected over the next four days.

While 11 out of 37 monitoring stations (Punjabi Bagh, Bawana, Mundka, Nehru Nagar and Jahangirpuri) recorded AQI in the "severe" category, at 30 stations it was "very poor".  Data showed air quality index was recorded 566 in Delhi Institute of Tool Engineering, 499 in Jehangirpuri, 466 in Anand Vihar, 438 in Punjabi Bagh, 418 in Vivek Vihar, 426 in Wazirpur, 418 in Ashok Vihar, 406 in Patparganj, 409 in Rohini, 399 in Sonia Vihar and 398 in Burari Crossing.

According to Air Quality Early Warning System, the air quality in Delhi and NCR are likely to remain in “Very Poor “category between December 1 and 3. Data showed PM 10 and PM 2.5 was recorded at 491 in Anand Vihar. Delhi's 24-hour average AQI was recorded in the 'poor' category with a reading of 290 on Wednesday. The 24-hour average AQI -- recorded at 4 pm every day -- was at 395 on Monday and Sunday, 389 on Saturday, 415 on Friday and 390 on Thursday (November 23).

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said that the fluctuations in pollution levels can be witnessed today as the windspeed has reduced. He added that though the Centre's anti-pollution measure GRAP-3 has been removed, all departments must follow preemptive measures under GRAP 1 and 2.  November 2023 was the most polluted month as compared to the past nine years i.e, 2015, when the concept of Air Quality Index was introduced.  There have been 18 days so far in this month as opposed to 12 days in 2021 and 11 in 2016 when the AQI was recorded in the 'Severe' or 'Near Severe' category.

Delhi’s AQI between November 1 and 30 was 372, making this the third most polluted November since 2015, the earliest year for which the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has published daily AQI bulletins.

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has recently lifted restrictions under the third stage of Graded Response Action Plan following an improvement in the air quality due to unseasonal rains in the Delhi and NCR.

According to a bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the skyline of the national capital will be covered with clouds and thundershowers are expected during the day following which the pollution level might decline further.

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