New Delhi: With the onset of Diwali, air quality in the national capital is set to deteriorate over the next two days, with the Met department terming the condition as "severe".
According to System of Air quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), pollution levels will be high in areas around Delhi University's North Campus and Rajendra Nagar, Mathura Road and Noida while it will be low in Aya Nagar and Palam (Terminal 3 area).
The pollution levels are expected to be 4-5 times higher than the normal level. The highest level of pollution will be observed on October 24, Friday, while the situation is expected to improve on October 27.
On October 24, the overall level of PM 2.5 would be 300 microgram per cubic meter (mpcm) while the level of PM 10 is predicted to be around 440 mpcm. The normal level of PM 2.5 in the atmosphere should be 60 mpcm for PM 2.5 and 100 mpcm for PM 10.
"The impact of Diwali firecrackers are predicted to be minimal as compared to past 2 years. This peak Diwali day value of PM 2.5 is roughly 50 per cent and 30 per cent lower as compared to 2012 and 2013," said Gufran Beig, a senior scientist at SAFAR.
"Still, Delhiites are going to breathe very poor to severe air at least for 2 days, mainly on October 24," he said.
At present, Delhi air quality is hovering between moderate to poor range.
The relatively higher temperature helps in keeping the inversion layer high, he said, adding that this forecast is made with an assumption that amount of fire cracker burned during Diwali this year will be same as last year.
The silver lining is that the pollution level has decreased this Diwali.
SAFAR is jointly run by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and India Meteorological Department.