Come Friday, no more smog in Delhi, say scientists

Some respite seems to be coming to the capital’s people suffering from breathing problem as the smog enveloping the city past few days is likely to lift by Friday, scientists said  on Tuesday.

According to scientists at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, the smog has settled over the national capital due to the drastic increase in fine particulate pollution level suspended over Delhi skies.

The data obtained by the SAFAR (System of Air quality Forecasting and Research) – India’s first air quality prediction system consisting of eight automatic air quality monitoring stations – projected that smog will continue to remain over Delhi for the next two days and will lift by 9 November.

Scientists attributed the smog to peculiar meteorological conditions supported by long-range transport of pollution from neighbouring states like Punjab. They ruled out any role of Cyclone Nilam in it.

‘The data revealed that the most toxic pollutant PM2.5 (fine particulate matters of size less than 2.5 micrometres) level started to increase from around 100 ug/m3 on 26 October, which was already in the moderate range, and reached to a critical level of 400 ug/m3 on Nov 5,’ Sunil Peshin, incharge of SAFAR, said.

This is the second time in this year that Delhi is under pollution threat and Diwali is yet to arrive. The last time dust storm hit Delhi was in March.

‘This increasing trend will continue for at least two more days and will touch a level of 450 ug/m3 and then likely to descent from 9 Nov ember to reach very poor category from critical level,’ SAFAR programme director Gufran Beig from IITM, Pune, said.

According to scientists, the reason for drastic increase in particulate pollution level is purely the peculiar meteorological conditions supported by long-range transport of pollution from neighbouring states.

‘This pollution episode has nothing to do with local emission which is always blamed. The westerly disturbances until about October 22 have inducted lot of moisture into Delhi’s atmosphere which resulted in bringing down temperature and drastic increase in humidity from October 25 onwards,’ said Beig. The clouds of pollutants emerging from seasonal crop residue burning from neighbouring Punjab and Haryana regions was another for the smog.


The Supreme Court expressed concern over the rising pollution and smog in the national capital on Tuesday and decided to deal with it.

‘We are concerned with the level of smog in the city.  Everyday we are hearing about the rising level of pollution in the city. We will deal with the matter,’ a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said.

The observations were made during the hearing of a matter relating to the waste of the Bhopal gas tragedy at the Union Carbide plant.
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