New Delhi: The MeT department has predicted light rainfall on Tuesday and Wednesday which is likely to clear a thick layer of smog hovering over the skies in the national capital for nearly a week.
The light showers, predicted by the MeT officials, are likely to bring some respite to the people gasping for fresh air these days due to deteriorating air quality here.
The minimum temperature on Sunday touched 13 degrees Celsius, one notch below the season’s average while the maximum temperature was recorded at 28.4 degrees Celsius.
Humidity levels oscillated between 98% and 51%.
The national capital has been experiencing dense smog for the past a few days, forcing authorities to enforce emergency measures such as banning construction activities and brick kilns due to worsening air pollution.
The “odd-even” rationing of cars, which was scheduled to begin on Monday, was however deferred by the Delhi government after the National Green Tribunal ordered the withdrawal of exemptions given to women and two-wheelers under the scheme.
The air quality in Delhi-NCR was back to 'severe-plus' or 'emergency' category towards Monday evening.
Also, the monitoring agencies have forecast a further rise in toxicity over the next few hours.
The average Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi on Monday at 4 pm was 463, with PM2.5 recorded at 460 units.
For the entire Delhi-NCR, the average was 455 units, with PM2.5 at 452 units.
The international permissible limit for PM2.5 - particles in the air with a diameter less than 2.5mm - is 25 units (microgram per cubic metre), while for India it is 60 units.
Ghaziabad was the most polluted city in the entire NCR, with PM2.5 at an astounding 848 units at 4 pm - 33 times the safe limit, IANS reported.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) initiative of the government said Delhi's air "may see an increase in pollution levels" due to meteorological factors and that a clearer picture would emerge only after Tuesday.
On the other hand, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) said Delhi's air had 'reversed' to 'severe-plus' or 'emergency' category after some signs of improvement on Friday and Saturday.
However, an EPCA official claimed that the dispersal of pollutants had begun with the wind speed picking up again.
The 'emergency' or 'severe-plus' situation requires PM2.5 to remain above 300 units or PM10 above 500 units for 48 hours.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi's air quality was above the required limits for over 50 hours by 3.00 pm on Monday.
The 'emergency' situation was last witnessed from Thursday till Saturday morning.
However, the pollutant levels fell below the red line for an hour on Saturday noon.