New Delhi, Nov 7: It was another hazy morning in Delhi-NCR region with a layer of thick smog engulfing the city and the minimum temperature at one notch above normal. However, the air quality on Wednesday morning witnessed a slight improvement from "very poor" to "poor" category.
As per the latest data shared by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the overall Air Quality Index of Delhi was recorded at 230, which falls into the "poor" category. The major pollutant particle was PM 10 while the PM 2.5 level was recorded at 228. On a scale of 0 and 50, the AQI 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'.
Pollution may be back to ‘severe’ category today
The Union government's pollution forecasting agencies have, however, forecasted that crackers or no-crackers, air quality could again turn bad from Diwali night. Chances are that pollution levels may again slide back to the ‘severe' level because of adverse wind conditions, MeT officials said. Scientists have warned that if city residents burn crackers on a large scale, then it would compound the problem.
"The air quality forecast from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) of the Ministry of Earth Sciences and the India Meteorological Department say that the period post-Diwali, November 8 onwards, could see a sharp deterioration in air quality," said a statement issued by the Supreme Court appointed body Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, however, favourable wind conditions helped the levels of particulate matter to improve considerably. The level of PM2.5 - the more harmful and ultrafine particles - which had shot up to 350ug/m3, nearly six times above the safe standards of 60ug/m3, came down to around 179ug/m3. The level of PM10 also improved from 487ug/m3 to 310ug/m3. The permissible limit for PM2.5 100ug/m3.
The AQI value, which had shot up to the season's worst of 426 on Monday breaching the ‘severe' level, improved to 338 on Tuesday, which is ‘very poor'. On Sunday, Delhi breathed its cleanest November air in three years when the AQI improved to 171.
A group of people on Tuesday gathered outside the office of the Environment Ministry to protest against the alarming rise in the pollution level that has raised health concerns.
The protesters held placards displaying messages like 'Delhi air is poisonous', 'breathing is killing me', '#My Right to Breathe' and 'Unbreathable India' outside the Indira Pariyavaran Bhawan.
The protesters also sang songs and asked the government to stop the stubble burning going on in the surrounding states of Delhi.
Photo credit: PTI