Delhi's pollution level comes down to 'very poor' category from 'severe'
Delhi's air quality saw a marginal improvement on Saturday with the pollution level coming down to the 'very poor' category briefly after being 'severe' due to unfavourable meteorological conditions. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, the overall air quality index (AQI) in the city was 397 but for a brief time it had reached 417. An AQI between 100 and 200 comes under 'moderate' category, 201 and 300 is considered 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', while that between 401 and 500 is 'severe'.
Twenty-four areas in Delhi recorded 'severe' air quality, while it was 'very poor' in eight areas, the CPCB said. In the National Capital Region (NCR), Ghaziabad and Noida recorded 'severe' air quality while Gurgaon recorded 'very poor' air quality, it said. Delhi's air quality improved slightly on Friday with improved wind speed but due to unfavourable meteorological conditions, it turned 'severe'.
But as winds picked up, the air quality was recorded in 'very poor' category on Saturday, officials said. The overall PM2.5 level (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers) in Delhi was recorded at 275 while the PM10 level was at 429, the CPCB said. The Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) said the overall air quality over Delhi is 'very poor'. "It will further improve a few notches by Sunday as good wind speed will continue to disperse pollutants faster than their accumulation due to colder condition and fog," the SAFAR said. "Moderate foggy conditions will prevail for the next two days over Delhi and surrounding regions and may not allow significant improvement. An active western disturbance is very likely to cause fairly widespread moisture intrusion over the northern region, including Delhi, it said.
"The AQI is expected to remain in the 'very poor' range for the next three days with declining magnitude," it added. In view of Delhi's air quality, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) had ordered a 24-hour ban on the entry of trucks into the national capital from 11 pm on Friday. In a letter to the chief secretaries of Delhi and the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, EPCA chief Bhure Lal directed them to stop the entry of truck traffic into the national capital (except essential commodities) during the period. This was the second time after November that the entry of trucks was banned to tackle Delhi's pollution.
(With inputs from agencies.)