Delhi's air quality improves from 'severe' to 'very poor'
Days after Delhi witnessed 'severe' air quality post-Diwali, its air quality improved today to 'very poor' category, after local pollutants "reduced significantly" and the contribution from stubble burning remained "marginal" due to wind speed, authorities said. The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 394, which falls in the 'very poor' category, according to the data by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Fifteen areas in the national capital recorded 'severe' air quality while 19 areas recorded 'very poor' pollution levels, the CPCB said. Today, the PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers) level was recorded at 226, while the PM10 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometers) was recorded at 331 in Delhi.
An Air Quality Index between 0 and 50 is considered "good", 51 and 100 "satisfactory", 101 and 200 "moderate", 201 and 300 "poor", 301 and 400 "very poor", and 401 and 500 "severe". Delhi on Thursday recorded an AQI of 642.
Center-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) said the overall AQI has improved and is likely to go back to 'very poor' range against adverse weather conditions. "The unfavorable weather was to make dispersion very slow and could have aggravated pollution levels due to locally generated pollutants, but as the influx of fresh local emission significantly dropped, air quality improved," it said.
Authorities also said control measures also helped in improving the air quality. However, stubble burning in neighboring states on Thursday was the "largest-ever recorded" this year, which might lead to a further deterioration in the already "severe" air quality. According to the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), 2,100 fire counts were observed on Thursday over northwestern region of India.
IITM added that the PM2.5 concentration is likely to increase again from Friday afternoon and may remain 'severe' or 'severe-plus' in Delhi-NCR till Sunday. But due to slow winds from the direction of stubble burning areas, the contribution of stubble fire emissions remained marginal.