Air quality improves, but experts predict another drop
Despite marginal improvement, air quality remained in the ‘very poor’ category.
NEW DELHI: Air quality in the national Capital marginally improved on Friday morning, but remained in the 'very poor' category, with a partly clouded sky.
Experts of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and other agencies said the relief would not last long and a spike in pollution will occur again soon, due to changing weather conditions.
On Friday, Delhi's Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 344, a minor improvement from Thursday's 348, but still in the 'very poor' category. The 24-hour average of AQI on Thursday was 363.
Minimum temperature on Friday was recorded at 13.9° Celsius, while maximum temperature was around 25.5° Celsius.
Officials of the Metrological Department said that visibility improved on Friday and was recorded at 1,000 metres. Despite no forecast of rain, some parts of central Delhi received light drizzle early Friday morning.
Meanwhile, CPCB officials said that the air could again become toxic during the weekend, as moisture in the air is increasing and temperature will go down.
Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) member and Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) researcher Usman Nasim said pollution levels in the region may rise in the coming days, due to climatic conditions.
"Pollution may increase in next few days due to withdrawal of north-west winds. As wind speed goes down, pollution levels to go up. As per SAFAR, AQI will remain in very poor quality," Nasim said.
He said the major contributing factor would be local vehicular emissions, and an increase in the moisture would aggravate it. He added that stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana had "almost" ended.
Nasim warned that certain actions by the EPCA may be enforced again, in case AQI enters the 'severe' category. EPCA had imposed restrictions under the 'severe-plus' or 'emergency' category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) on November 7, after a thick yellow blanket of smog covered Delhi, due to the cumulative effect of stubble burning in neighbouring states and weather conditions.
Accordingly, movement of trucks in Delhi was stopped, construction work was banned and schools were shut.
On Thursday, after improvement in air quality, EPCA issued directions to remove the ban on entry of trucks and construction works, along with withdrawal of the four-fold hike in parking fees.
EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal earlier had written to the chief secretaries of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, directing them that to lifted the measures with "immediate effect" as the prevailing air quality did not warrant such tough action.Despite marginal improvement, air quality remained in the 'very poor' category.