Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday claimed that the odd-even road rationing scheme was no longer required as the “skies are clear”. The chief minister had last week said that the odd-even rule may be extended if required.
The scheme was implemented in the national Capital between November 4 and November 15. It was suspended for two days on account of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.
The overall air quality index in Delhi at 1 pm was recorded in the “poor” category at 209, according to the Central Pollution Control Board. The real-time air quality index was recorded at 215, according to SAFAR. The CPCB index typically differs from that of SAFAR because it averages values for 24 hours.
Out of all the CPCB monitoring stations in Delhi, which recorded air pollution levels between “moderate” to “poor” at 1 pm, the one at the Delhi Technological University was the worst at 264. This was followed by the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range in the south-eastern part of the city, and Jahangirpuri area in North West Delhi, which recorded 257 as the air quality level.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, 51-100 falls under “satisfactory” zone, 101-200 is “moderate”, 201-300 “poor”, 301-400 “very poor” and 401-500 is “severe” category. The index has been “severe” in Delhi for most parts of this month, but improved to “very poor” on Saturday and “poor” on Sunday.
Although the air quality levels improved a bit on Monday, a bulletin from the Air Quality Early Warning System under the Ministry of Earth Sciences said that pollution levels were likely worsen again. “Air quality will continue to be in ‘poor’ category on Monday,” the bulletin said, according to the Hindustan Times. “However, it may dip on Tuesday with slowing down of winds and may fall into ‘very poor’ zone.”
Experts at the agency also said that the wind speed is expected to drop to 15 to 20 km per hour on Monday and further slow down to 6 and 8 km per hour. The air quality could dip again on November 20 and November 21 due to low wind speed, moderate fog, drop in temperature, and cloud cover, they said. This is likely to lead to toxic smog again.
The Kejriwal-led Delhi government has been facing flak from the Supreme Court and the Opposition over rising air pollution. Last week, schools in Delhi were ordered to be shut for two days as the city’s air quality index hit dangerously high levels. The Supreme Court on Friday expressed concern that the odd-even road rationing scheme in Delhi was not effective in reducing pollution.
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