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IMD officials claim Delhi records slight improvement in air quality

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New Delhi, Oct 16: Officials from the India Meteorological Department on Friday said that pollution levels have reduced slightly in the national capital with favourable wind speed helping in dispersion of pollutants. The city recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 251 at 10 am. The 24-hour average AQI was 315 on Thursday, the worst since February 12 (AQI 320).

air pollution

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.

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IMD's senior scientist said the dip in pollution levels was likely because of an improvement in the wind speed (up to 10 kilometres per hour). NASA's satellite imagery showed a large cluster of farm fires near Amritsar, Patiala, Tarn Taran, and Firozpur in Punjab, and Ambala and Rajpura in Haryana.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences' Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi said the wind direction was northwesterly on Friday, which is favourable for transport of pollutants from farm fires.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, the contribution of farm fires to Delhi's PM 2.5 concentration was around 6 per cent on Thursday.

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With Delhi-NCR bracing for months of poor air quality, experts have warned that high levels of air pollution can aggravate the COVID-19 situation. Severe air pollution in Delhi is a year-round problem, which can be attributed to unfavourable meteorological conditions, farm fires in neighbouring regions and local sources of pollution.

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    According to an analysis by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, a Delhi-based think tank, transportation contributes the most - 18 to 39 per cent - to Delhi's air pollution.

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