Poor air quality detected in Delhi, likely to worsen further

The national capital on Monday woke up to a thick, pale haze with the air quality remaining in the ‘poor’ category. According to the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 262 till 8 am, which falls under the poor category.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 is marked as severe/hazardous.

Within the city, the AQI oscillated between moderate, poor and very poor categories. At Lodhi Road, the AQI was recorded at 200 (PM 2.5 level), while at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, the AQI was 199, both in the ‘moderate’ category.

Furthermore, at Pusa, Delhi University and Mathura Road, the AQI docked at 297, 272 and 275, respectively. However, in Dhirpur, Chandni Chowk and Pitampura, the AQIs slumped to very poor and were recorded at 317, 334 and 305, respectively.

In a statement, the SAFAR said that the air quality is expected to turn very poor in the next few days.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the maximum temperature in Delhi on Sunday was recorded at 27.2 degrees Celsius, while the minimum temperature was 10.5 degrees Celsius.

For today, the maximum and minimum temperatures are forecasted to be 27 degrees Celsius and 11 degrees Celsius, respectively, with mist in the morning and a clear sunny day ahead.

The menace of air pollution is not restricted to Delhi or the National Capital Region, but, is also engulfing most parts of the country especially metropolitan cities. According to data compiled by the Central Pollution Control Board in October, out of 68 cities, only 13 had AQI levels lower than 100, while 10 recorded AQI levels above 300.

During winter season each year, most of the northern part of India suffers from a spike in toxicity in the air due to the change in weather patterns and crop residue burning in neighbouring states such as Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Not only that, but a dip in temperature along with low wind speed also tends to trap the air pollutants closer to the ground.