NCR Pollution: After five days, air quality improves from ‘very poor’ to ‘poor’

On October 24, there were 900 fires in Punjab; on October 25, there were 1,400 fires, and on October 26, the number had crossed 2,000.

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After five consecutive days of Delhi’s air quality being recorded in the ‘very poor’ category, the city’s Air Quality Index (AQI) on Wednesday morning recorded a ‘poor’ reading. As per data uploaded by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) at 7am, the AQI stood at 284 this morning.

Air quality enters the ‘very poor’ zone between the 301-400 mark and crosses over to the ‘severe’ zone after exceeding 400. On Tuesday, the average 24-hour AQI reading stood at 312. This was several points below the AQI reading of 353 recorded on Monday in Delhi.

Forecasts by various air monitoring agencies, however, said the respite would be short-lived and Delhi’s air quality may start deteriorating again from Wednesday as stubble burning continues in Punjab and Haryana, and the northwesterly winds blow towards Delhi.

“Favourable winds aided dispersion of pollutants in Delhi, otherwise air quality would have deteriorated. On October 24, there were 900 fires in Punjab; on October 25, there were 1,400 fires, and on October 26, the number had crossed 2,000. But we expect some deterioration in air quality on Wednesday as wind speed is likely to decline marginally,” warned Vijay Soni, scientist at India Meteorological Department (air quality management division).

Lower temperatures expected over the next few days will also trap pollutants closer to the surface, experts said.

According to the forecast by the India Meteorological Department’s regional meteorological centre, Delhi, the weather will largely remain misty on Wednesday with a likely minimum temperature of 13°C.

Till Wednesday morning, the city recorded a maximum temperature of 32.4°C which was one degree above the normal and the minimum temperature dropped to two degrees below normal at 14.4°C. This is likely to dip further as the November approaches.

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