The air quality in the national capital and areas around it deteriorated on Friday 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 355, according to the Center-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).
The AQI was recorded the highest in Mathura Road at 389, followed by Delhi University at 378, Chandni Chowk at 375, IIT Delhi at 363, Dhirpur at 357, Airport (T3) and Ayanagar at 346, Pusa at 334, and Lodhi Road at 328. The AQI in Noida stood at 414 (Severe Category) and Gurugram at 327.
According to SAFAR, the AQI may touch the lower end of 'Severe category' on Friday. The main factors working towards the deterioration of Delhi air quality is the extremely low wind speed and strong near-surface inversion during the stable night time. Hence the ventilation is minimum and leading to the accumulation of pollutants near the surface.
The AQI may touch the severe category but the condition is not likely to prolong since the passing a fresh WD is expected to increase wind speed and improve ventilation by Saturday. Further improvement of AQI towards the lower end of 'Very Poor' by November 24.
The condition is likely to improve by Saturday afternoon to the 'Very Poor' category since a strengthening of surface winds is forecasted owing to the passing of Western disturbance. Though fire counts are relatively high ~1011 (as per SAFAR multi-satellite product) as compared to last week the stubble level winds are easterly not favourable for plume intrusion and on Friday no significant stubble impact is expecting to Delhi.
On Thursday, the debate on pollution, particularly in the Delhi-NCR area, in the Rajya Sabha witnessed heated and emotional appeals with members demanding either to declare an environmental emergency or take the issue up as a national emergency.
The House also witnessed a bitter war of words between members of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Aadmi Party with Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, in the end, telling members that a frenzied approach to the problem will never work and there is a need for the systematic and scientific solution.
Noting that different factors - chiefly burning of biomass, dust from construction, vehicle pollutants and factory pollutants - are responsible for air pollution in different cities and each needs to be dealt differently, he had said, "We need to identify the source of each city and accordingly work upon it."
The minister said that Delhi has witnessed overall improvement in air quality successively since 2016. He said the number of good to moderate days in term of air quality has increased to 175 in 2019 as compared to 158 in 2018 and poor to severe days reduced to 148 as compared to 165 last year.
He informed that in 2019-20, the total stubble burning incidents in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana were reduced by 19 per cent as compared to 2018.