New Delhi: The pollution in the national capital and its nearby areas such as Noida, and Gurugram remained in the `very poor` category on Wednesday with the Air Quality Index (AQI) docking at 392, 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 673, followed by Pusa at 400, Airport (T3) and Mathura Road at 399, IIT Delhi and Dhirpur at 395, Delhi University (DU) at 393, Lodhi Road at 384 and Ayanagar at 374. The AQI in Noida stood at 535 and at Gurugram at 384. SAFAR had said that the air quality is likely to improve slightly on Wednesday due to an increase in wind speed.
The visibility has come down to 1000 metres in the morning hours which is down from Tuesday's 2000 metres. The temperature at 5:30 was 21.2 degrees which is also higher than Tuesday's. The minimum temperature is expected to be 18 degrees.
The wind speed is around four kms per hour which is almost equivalent to Tuesday's windspeed and is not very helpful to disperse pollutants. The humidity is 82 per cent.
On Monday, a day after Diwali, the overall air quality of Delhi touched the `severe` category. According to SAFAR, Haryana and Punjab stubble fire counts are increasing, and the transport level wind direction is favourable for plume transport (north-westerly).
A blanket of smog had engulfed Delhi on Tuesday causing suffocation to the people especially near the major junctions such as Rajpath, Raisina Hill, India Gate, ITO and Tilak Marg. The AQI as recorded at 4 pm on Tuesday was 446 in Ghaziabad, 439 in Noida, 428 in Greater Noida, 424 in Moradabad and 415 in Panipat. The air quality index above 300 is marked under the hazardous category. The highest AQI recorded after Diwali in Delhi was 740 at the University of Delhi area.
"I am feeling very suffocated today. No fresh air, no oxygen after Diwali. Not only that, but I am also having eye irritation," said a local to news agency ANI. "Throughout the year, the problem of air pollution persists in Delhi but the problem aggravates during Deepawali due to the increase in wind speed and stubble burning. We must take some stringent action to curb the air pollution," another local had said.
"A slight increase in wind speed is expected by October 30 which will help improve AQI marginally to middle end of the Very poor category," the organisation had stated in its report. Also, according to Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC), straw burning has increased this year.
"If we see the records from September 23 to October 21, the fire incidents have increased from 2018. So far, 3466 incidents have taken place. In 2018, till October 21, it was 2575," Anil Sood, Head ACM division, PRSC had said while speaking to ANI in Ludhiana.
Tarantara was placed at the top of the list of fire incidents with 736 cases. Amritsar was second in the list with 597 cases followed by Patiala with 439 fire incidents. In Ferozabadpur, around 311 fire incidents were reported while in Gurudaspur around 239 such incidents were recorded. To curb air pollution, the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in Delhi has announced the implementation of the Odd-Even scheme from November 4 to 15, 2019.