Delhi’s air quality remained ‘very poor’ on Saturday morning and emission from firecrackers and calm winds may push it to the ‘severe zone’ by this evening, according to government agencies and weather experts.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality monitor, SAFAR, said the PM2.5 concentration in Delhi on Diwali is likely to be the ‘lowest’ in the last four years if no firecrackers are burnt.
Pollution levels in Delhi during the Diwali period are likely to remain in the higher end of the ‘very poor’ category even in the absence of emissions due to firecrackers, it said.
The air quality in Delhi-NCR is likely to deteriorate further and enter the ‘severe’ category by evening, it added.
The city recorded an AQI of 373 at 10am on Saturday, which falls in the ‘very poor’ category. However, several monitoring stations, including at ITO (406), Alipur (422), Jahangirpuri (431), Rohini (403), Vivek Vihar (415), Narela (418), Bawana (430), Mundka (405) and Anand Vihar (429), recorded their AQI in the ‘severe’ category.
The 24-hour average AQI was 339 on Friday and 314 on Thursday.
This time, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that a fresh western disturbance is likely to increase the wind speed and improve the air quality in Delhi-NCR post Diwali.
Light rain is likely on Sunday under the influence of a western disturbance. It is still to be seen if it is enough to wash away pollutants, Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of the IMD’s regional forecasting centre, said.
V K Soni, the head of the IMD’s environment research centre, said calm winds and firecrackers emissions may push the air quality to the ‘severe’ zone on Diwali night. The wind speed is expected to pick up thereafter and the wind direction will be east-southeasterly, he said.
There will be a significant improvement in air quality by November 16, Soni said.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had on Monday imposed a total ban on sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) from November 9 midnight to November 30 midnight, saying “celebration by crackers is for happiness and not to celebrate deaths and diseases”.
(With inputs from PTI)
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