Air quality in Delhi improves a tad as city receives light intermittent rains

Estimated read time 2 min read

New Delhi: On Friday morning, Delhi’s air quality experienced a notable improvement following a spell of light to moderate rain, expected to persist for an additional hour. The air quality index (AQI) in Delhi dropped to ‘very poor’ category, a significant shift from ‘severe’ category it had sustained for a week. 

As of 10am, AQI was recorded at 396, a decrease from 437 at 4pm the previous day, based on Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) figures.

At 9am, 32 of 38 monitoring stations indicated ‘very poor’ air quality with AQI levels between 305 and 398. However, four stations located in Sonia Vihar, Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, Shadipur, and Bawana still reported ‘severe’ air quality. Data from two stations were missing.

On 2 November, Delhi’s air quality crossed the 400 mark, the first for this season, entering the ‘severe’ category with an AQI of 575 at 7.23pm. Prior to this, the season’s highest was 412 AQI on 30 October, with 18 of 37 stations recording ‘severe’ levels,

CPCB’s AQI scale categorizes 0-50 as ‘good’, 51-100 as ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 as ‘moderate’, 201-300 as ‘poor’, 301-400 as ‘very poor’, and 401-500 as ‘severe’.

The India Meteorological Department has forecast thunderstorms accompanied by light to moderate rain in various parts of Delhi, Gurugram, Manesar, and the adjoining areas of Haryana and Rajasthan for the next hour. This weather pattern is due to a western disturbance in the middle tropospheric westerlies.

As per the weather bureau, cold temperatures can lead to temperature inversions, creating stable atmospheric layers that trap pollutants close to the ground.

The Commission on Air Quality Management has identified stubble burning as a principal factor in deteriorating air quality in northern states, with a 38% contribution. Vehicular and industrial emissions are other major contributors to air pollution.

From 15 September to 7 November, 22,644 stubble burning incidents were detected, with 93% in Punjab and 7% in Haryana. With harvests over 90% complete in Haryana and 60% in Punjab, the Centre has asked Punjab to halt stubble burning for the remainder of the paddy harvest season.

Typically, air pollution in Delhi peaks during 1-15 November, exacerbated by post-harvest stubble burning in neighbouring states.

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Updated: 10 Nov 2023, 11:07 AM IST

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