The air quality in the national capital and areas around is likely to deteriorate on Wednesday with the Air Quality Index (AQI) reaching the higher end of 'Very Poor' category. The city has been reeling under severe air pollution since the fag-end of October. In the morning the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi docked at 269, according to the Center-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).
The AQI was recorded the highest in Chandni Chowk at 346, followed by Dhirpur at 304, Delhi University at 301, Mathura Road at 296, IIT Delhi and Lodhi Road at 283, Pusa at 252, Airport (T3) at 241, and Ayanagar at 193. The AQI in Noida stood at 333 and Gurugram at 207.
The AQI is forecasted to deteriorate to the lower end of 'Severe' category by the early morning of November 21. The AQI is likely to stay in the severe category till November 22. The deterioration of AQI to 'Severe' category is expected but the condition is not likely to prolong since the passing of a fresh western disturbance is expected to increase the wind speed and improve ventilation by November 23.
The wind speed has already shown a decreasing trend and forecasted to be very calm during the next 48 hours. The near-surface winds are from westerly and boundary layer winds are from northwesterly. An increase in effective stubble fire counts (1080) estimated as per SAFAR-multi-satellite product on November 18, as stubble transport-level winds are favourable, and an increase in stubble absolute contribution in PM2.5 is forecasted and percentage share is forecasted as 14 per cent for November 20.
The calm wind and low ventilation index are forecasted for the next two days and conditions are conducive for the sudden accumulation of pollutants in the Delhi region.
On Tuesday, the air quality had improved significantly towards the 'moderate category' and settled in the 'poor' category, bringing a slight relief to the city. Notably, Gurugram's pollution level was comparatively low, in the 'moderate' category. The AQI settled at 218, according to SAFAR.
Schools in Delhi-NCR have been reopened. All schools in Delhi-NCR were closed from November 14-15 due to the rise in pollution levels. The implementation of the Odd-Even scheme came to an end on Monday with the Delhi government deciding on no further extension of the scheme.
President Ram Nath Kovind has expressed concern over the air pollution and said that days of smog sometimes give the feeling of the doomsday scenario being fast-forwarded. "Many scientists and futurologists have painted doomsday scenarios. On days of smog and poor visibility in our cities, we fear the future might already be here," the President had said on Tuesday in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The President said that hydrocarbon energy changed the face of the world in the last couple of centuries, but "now it is threatening our very existence". He added that the challenge is compounded for nations battling to bring substantial sections of populations out of poverty. "Yet, we will have to find alternatives", he said.
The air pollution in the national capital was so toxic after Diwali that the Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) had to declare a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR and advised people, especially children and the aged, to limit their exposure to the environment.