City breathes easier as 'Sun' day records best air quality in month
More relief likely in next few days as wind speed may further pick up: CPCB.
NEW DELHI: Air quality in Delhi on Sunday was the best in over a month as drizzle coupled with bright sun and wind helped disperse particulates, an official said. The Air Quality Index, at 291, was classified as 'poor' by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). It was an improvement over 'very poor' recorded over the last few days.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) monitors recorded 24-hour average of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 and PM 10 at 128 and 199 micrograms per cubic metre respectively. The corresponding prescribed standards are 60 and 100.
'Poor' quality air might trigger breathing discomfort to most people on prolonged exposure, the CPCB noted. However, it is a major improvement over what Delhi underwent in the last two weeks when pollution had hit emergency levels and a thick blanket of smog had descended over the region.
"More rains would have helped. But we certainly expect rapid clean up of the air over the next few days as wind movement will further pick up. Air channels have opened due to the weakening of a depression over the Bay of Bengal," CPCB's air lab chief Dipankar Saha said. The last time the AQI was recorded below 300 was on October 16.
Authorities in Delhi have lifted certain stringent steps such as the ban on entry of trucks and construction activities in light of the improvement. Saha said that light rains experienced at many parts of the city aided in the cleanup process, which began a few days ago as pollutants from external sources such as stubble burning stopped entering due to a change in wind direction.
This year, the Capital witnessed the worst air quality in the last few years. The air quality reached 489 which was reported as 'severe'. The Delhi government and the Supreme Court appointed body EPCA set the 'severe plus' category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). The officials of the Delhi government said that the environment department has directed all the air quality monitoring stations to be cautious and to monitor the data till further instruction from the department.
The CPCB and the EPCA also predicted that the condition of Delhi is still very vulnerable and the air quality can deteriorate at any time. However, the experts said that with the start of winter if the sky remains clear and the city gets proper sunlight then the air quality will improve.