Wednesday hasn’t come out as a brightest and unhealthy day for the Delhiites. The people have suffered the first highly poor air day of the season. According to the Central Pollution Control Board readings, the city’s average air quality index touches 304; it is a clear deterioration from the AQI of 270 (In “Poor” zone), which was recorded on Tuesday.
Most of the 37 air quality monitoring stations in Delhi recorded AQI in the highly poor category even as satellite pictures showed the region under a haze of pollution.
The Delhi Government said the foul air was largely because of crop burning taking place in Punjab and Haryana.
Delhi: City air quality may worsen further from October 20th
Air quality dropped to the very poor range in the most cities around Delhi, with Ghaziabad recording the worst AQI of 339, followed by Noida 326 and Greater Noida 24, Faridabad 300 and Gurugram 287 were slightly better off with AQIs still in reduced range.
By 9 pm, Dwarka Sec-9 had an AQI reading of 463, Bawana 355, Anand Vihar 335, Wazirpur 326, and Mathura road 310.
“Surface winds continue to be slow and variable with predominant direction from southeast. Hence the dominant factor for the increase at this stage is changing local weather conditions rather than external intrusion,” said SAFAR bulletin.
It added that stubble burning activity in Haryana, Punjab, and nearby border regions had increased over the last 48 hours, with a few new fires also observed over western UP. “However, the wind directions are not favorable for the direct plume transport to Delhi, and the SAFAR model estimates the biomass contribution (to Delhi’s AQI) at just 5%,” it said.
According to SAFAR scientists, further deterioration in Delhi’s AQI might start from the fourth week of October.
SAFAR stated, “During the fourth week of October, the temperature will start to cool. The anti-cyclone (over the region) is expected to strengthen by mid-fourth week and associated clear skies, and sinking motion will make the atmosphere stable with calm surface winds. Both will lead to stagnant weather conditions, which favor fine particulate matter formation and accumulation of pollutants.”
It said the air crisis could deepen if any additional internal (For instance, firecrackers) or external emissions (stubble burning) enter the air. In a landlocked city like Delhi, it may lead to rapid accumulation and may trigger high pollution events. However, if local emissions are controlled, and air quality crisis can be avoided, SAFAR said.
In a sign that the city’s air was becoming a political issue, the Delhi government sharply opposed the contention that the present pollution levels were mainly because of local emissions. “Air quality in Delhi has been good or moderate for the last 7-8 months, but they have starkly gone up now… The sudden spike in pollution is a result of smoke coming from outside,” a government statement said, hinting at crop fires in Punjab.