Air quality ‘severe’ for second day post-Deepavali

Contribution of stubble burning to city’s pollution reported at 41%, the season’s highest

The air quality in the city improved slightly on Saturday but continued to be in the ‘severe’ category for the second consecutive day due to unfavourable weather conditions, firecracker emissions and rampant stubble burning in neighbouring States, according to official data.

Several other cities in the National Capital Region — Gurugram, Faridabad and Noida — as well as towns in north India, such as Baghpat and Bulandshahr, also reported ‘severe’ air pollution for the second day post-Deepavali.

The contribution of stubble burning in neighbouring States to PM2.5, in Delhi was 41% and the number of active fires was 5,159 on Saturday, both highest this season, said government-run monitoring agency SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research).

Delhi’s AQI (air quality index) was recorded at 437 on Saturday, down from 462 on Friday, according to the Central Pollution Control Board’s 4 p.m. bulletin. On Friday, the city’s air quality dropped to its poorest levels for the day after Deepavali in five years, according to official data. It was also the first day with ‘severe’ air pollution this season.

AQI may improve today

The AQI of Delhi is expected to improve from Sunday evening because of strong surface winds sweeping through Delhi-NCR.

“Delhi’s AQI is likely to improve to the upper end of ‘very poor’ category as surface winds are becoming stronger, dispersing air pollutants. Strong northwesterly winds enhance transport of emissions from stubble burning. Share of crop residue burning emissions in PM2.5 is 41% (effective fire count 5,159),” said SAFAR.

The fog or smog condition in Delhi-NCR also improved on Saturday. “Fog/smog conditions today [November 6] morning has improved in Delhi NCR as was forecasted. It was shallow fog with visibility 600 to 800 metre range reported at two airports from 5.30 a.m. to 9.30 a.m,” IMD said in a statement on Saturday.

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