Earlier in the day, the India Meteorological Department had said that the air pollution situation in the Delhi-National Captial Region is likely to improve as strong winds, observed in the afternoon, increased chances of rainfall, which could bring down the pollution levels.
“Isolated to scattered rainfall under the influence of fresh Western Disturbance by November 15 is also expected,” the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ SAFAR, or System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research, said. “These factors will greatly help in flushing out the impact of any additional locally generated emissions and biomass related impact to make AQI in the lower end of very poor by November 16.”
The Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for the city, recorded 0.4 mm rainfall, according to PTI. The weather stations at Palam recorded 1.8 mm of rainfall, Lodhi Road registered 0.3 mm, Ridge 1.2 mm, Jafarpur 1 mm, Najafgarh 1 mm and Pusa 2.5 mm.
A weather department official said Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh also witnessed light rains and thunderstorms.
A day after Diwali, the air quality in Delhi remained in the “severe” category on Sunday, as bursting of firecrackers worsened the situation, data from the Central Pollution Control Board showed.
At 8 am, the AQI in Delhi was at 467, indicating “severe” conditions that pose a risk of respiratory problems. The air quality further deteriorated to 490 at 5 pm.
The overall AQI hit 545 in Delhi at 9 am. Delhi’s 24-hour average AQI was 414 on Saturday, 339 on Friday and 314 on Thursday. Although the Delhi government had imposed a complete ban on firecrackers, violations were reported across the city and the National Capital Region as crackers could be heard going off till early morning.
Delhi’s air pollution typically worsens in October and November due to farmers burning stubble in neighbouring states, unfavourable wind speed and local emission of traffic fumes in the city. Firecrackers ignited for Diwali add to the problem.
Pollution in the city had almost disappeared earlier this year, when the Centre imposed a countrywide lockdown to contain the coronavirus but the situation has worsened since the government began lifting restrictions at the end of August.