Delhi recorded the cleanest air in five years the day after Dussehra celebrations concluded in the city, authorities said on Wednesday, according to the Hindustan Times. The celebrations include burning of firecrackers and effigies of Ravana, who is depicted as a 10-headed demon king in the Hindu epic Ramayana.
On Wednesday, the Central Pollution Control Board data recorded Delhi’s overall air quality index at 173 as opposed to 326 last year. Dussehra has been celebrated three times during the first few weeks of October in the last five years, and 2019 recorded the lowest level of pollution among them.
However, on Tuesday midnight after Dussehra celebrations, pollution levels increased due to low temperature and the rise in toxic fumes. At 4 pm, the air quality index was recorded at 112 (moderate), however, 24 hours later it increased to 173 (moderate), according to The Times of India.
Experts at the India Meteorological Department attributed the lower pollution levels to the easterly winds and a delayed monsoon retreat. They also cautioned that the situation may change after October 12.
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“The monsoon withdrawal has begun,” head of the weather department in Delhi Kuldeep Srivastava told Hindustan Times. “It has started withdrawing in Punjab, western Haryana and northern Rajasthan, and in the next three to four days monsoon will withdraw from Delhi. After this, the wind direction will also change and pollution levels are likely to increase.”
Centre for Science and Environment Anumita Roy said residents of the city had also made an effort to opt for sustainable alternatives. “Execution of measures under GRAP [Graded Response Action Plan] and coordination among agencies and coordination among agencies began much earlier, which helped too,” Chowdhury said.
Head of CPCB’s air quality laboratory said also attributed residents’ participation in curbing use of fireworks. He added that 46 teams of CPCB officials were deployed on Monday to keep an eye on pollution violations.
This year, experts also observed a switch in pollution patterns with increase in PM10 particles, which usually comes from road dust, instead of the PM2.5 particles from emissions, which are more harmful to health.
Delhi’s depleted air quality during the winter months is largely attributed to vehicular emissions, stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana and road dust.
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