The air quality in the Delhi-National Capital Region improved significantly two days after Diwali on Monday, with rainfall and a favourable wind speed, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.
The 24-hour average air quality index in the Capital at 4 pm on Monday was 221, which falls in the “poor” category. This was a drastic improvement from Sunday morning, when Delhi’s AQI was at 467, indicating “severe” conditions that pose a risk of respiratory problems.
The average 24-hour AQI at 4 pm on Monday was 243 in Noida, 246 in Gurgaon, 207 in Ghaziabad and 186 in Faridabad, according to CPCB. At 5 pm on Sunday, both Noida and Gurugram had registered an air quality in the “severe” category. The AQI was 448 at Noida’s Sector 62, while in Gugugram’s Vikas Sadan it stood at 403.
As of 7 am on Tuesday, Delhi’s AQI was 161, which was in the “moderate” category. The prominent pollutants were PM 2.5 and PM 10. However, a blanket of haze was visible on the Delhi-Noida Direct flyway on Tuesday morning.
According to CPCB’s air quality index or AQI, any reading above 100 on a scale of 500 is progressively unsafe for health.
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Several parts of Delhi-NCR received light to moderate rainfall after Diwali. The Indian Meteorological Department said that another western disturbance will bring rain to the region around Wednesday and Thursday, PTI reported. The temperature is expected to fall further.
On Monday, the Capital also recorded the lowest maximum temperature of this season at 25.8 degrees Celsius, Hindustan Times reported.
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 has returned since the government began lifting restrictions at the end of August.
The emergency situation this year also comes as Delhi is possibly suffering a “third wave” of coronavirus infections. Health experts worry that high air pollution levels over a prolonged period have compromised the disease resistance of people living in Delhi, making them more susceptible to the coronavirus. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had on Monday said that the third wave of the coronavirus in Delhi had passed its peak.