Air quality in Delhi slips to severe zone, likely to dip more on Saturday
New Delhi : With slow-moving winds and dense fog and low temperatures, the air quality in Delhi has slipped to 'severe' category on Friday. As per record, the overall air quality index (AQI) in Delhi was 432 on Friday, considerably high from Thursday's 362 (very poor).
At 7.30pm on Friday, the air quality at several monitoring stations was recorded to be in the emergency zone. The AQI at Okhla Phase 2, Mundka, Pusa, Vivek Vihar, Ashok Vihar, Nehru Nagar and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium monitoring stations had crossed the 450 mark.
The particulate matter levels also showed an upward curve throughout Friday. At 1am on Friday, the PM 2.5 (particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 micrcometres) levels were recorded 233ug/m3. By 8pm, the levels were 273ug/m3, just a few points away from the emergency mark of 300ug/m3. The PM 10 (particulate matter with diameter less than 10 micrometres) also shot up to 402ug/m3. The emergency mark for PM 10 levels are 500ug/m3.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has claimed that dense fog and cold temperatures on Thursday made situation worse.
The Hindustan Times quoted a senior scientist who claimed that there is a possibility of light rains from late Friday and Saturday, which may bring some relief in terms of air pollution.
"From tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon the AQI is expected to improve. The temperature will increase tomorrow, but from Monday there will be a dip in temperature again," the scientist said.
System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), ministry of earth science’s weather and air quality forecasting centre, also said that wind speeds will remain low till Saturday afternoon, after which the rain in certain parts of Delhi-NCR will improve conditions.
"AQI is likely to deteriorate further in severe category till tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon. The decrease in minimum temperature is forecasted, conditions are favourable for dense fog formation. Increase in wind speed is forecasted and there is a possibility for scattered rain over Delhi region by tomorrow night," the forecast read.
It added, “The improvement in Air Quality Index will depend on the strength of rainfall. It should be noted that slight drizzle can deteriorate air quality. On 22nd December wind speeds are forecasted to pick up further and AQI is likely to improve to the middle-end very poor category. By 23rd December AQI is forecasted to improve to middle to lower end of very poor category.”