Delhi Air Quality Improves to ‘Moderate’ – Best Since 2015
A file photo of pollution on the roads of Delhi.
A file photo of pollution on the roads of Delhi.(Photo: AP)

Delhi Air Quality Improves to ‘Moderate’ – Best Since 2015

An increased wind speed and an overnight drizzle brought relief to the capital on Thursday, as Delhi witnessed its first December day with moderate air quality since 2015, the Central Pollution Board Data records say.

There was a marked improvement in the Air Quality Index from 282 on 6 December, to 194 on 7 December, putting Delhi’s air in the ‘moderate’ range from ‘poor’. A marked improvement was also witnessed from 5 December’s index reading of 378.

From 23 November to 5 December, the air quality in the city had remained 'very poor', with toxic smog disrupting normal life and even the India-Sri Lanka Test match at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.

According to the Central Control Room for Air Quality Management of the CPCB, the concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) breached the 24-hour safe limit of 80 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3) in areas such as RK Puram (139.27), Anand Vihar (104.27) and Dilshad Garden (85.20) in the evening.

As per a Hindustan Times report, areas around Pusa Road had the best air on 7 December, with a moderate AQI of 119. Areas close to the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Lodhi Road, Shadipur, Burari Crossing, and Dilshad Gardens, also had similarly better air.

The report further stated that air cleared further as wind speed increased from around 8-10 kmph to 12-14 kmph from Wednesday to Thursday respectively. The humidity levels also fell down to 60 percent from 70 percent during the span of a day.

A spell of showers is likely to hit the capital on 11 and 12 December, with experts forecasting similar air quality to continue for the next few days, a Times of India report stated.

Though the Air Quality Index (AQI) improved from 'poor' on 7 December, a toxic haze continued to envelope parts of Delhi with the atmosphere being laden with NO2 and other pollutants.

The smog in Delhi had even cast a shadow on the India-Sri Lanka Test match at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, with captain Dinesh Chandimal and his team wearing N95 anti-pollution masks to combat pollution on Day two.

The match ended in a draw yesterday with Chandimal admitting that it was tough playing under pollution. Some of the Sri Lankan players had fallen sick.

Air quality is improving every hour and we hope it will continue to improve. Now the wind is blowing very easily from north to south with a speed of 4.5 m/s, which has resulted in dispersion of pollutants, leading to improvement in the air quality after a long pause.
Dipankar Saha, Air Lab Chief, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

The United Nations on 5 December marked the first International Smog Day.

It is a moment to remember all of the people who have died prematurely, and avoidably, because of the air pollution, the United Nations Environment Programme had said in a statement.

Pollution is considered severe plus when readings of PM2.5 and PM10 cross 300 and 500 ug/m3, respectively. The corresponding prescribed standards are 60 and 100.

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

Also Read: Sri Lanka Complains to ICC About Air Pollution During Delhi Test

(With inputs from PTI, Hindustan Times, The Times of India)

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