The air quality of Delhi and adjoining areas on Wednesday again slipped into "very poor" zone and the experts say it will continue to remain so for at least next three days. Between January 13 and 15, increased wind speed from Northwest had turned Delhi-NCR's air breathable with "poor" air quality, against "severe" levels in the previous days.
According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the wind speed has dropped now -- from 5.3 to 2.5 km per hour -- and the direction of the wind has also changed, bringing more moisture from the Southeast, leading to an accumulation of pollutants near the surface. The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi at 4 p.m on Wednesday was recorded at 371 ("very poor") against Tuesday's 237 ("poor").
In the National Capital Region (NCR), Faridabad at 328, Ghaziabad at 384, Greater Noida at 356, Gurugram at 304 and Noida at 356 also fell in the "very poor" zone. There could be some relief from the pollution towards the weekend as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast "light rain or thundershowers with a partly cloudy sky over January 21 and 22".
On Wednesday, across 35 areas in Delhi, where pollution is actively monitored, the average concentration of PM 2.5 and PM 10 was 250 and 400 microgrammes per cubic meter, respectively. The concentration of PM 2.5 and PM 10 across 48 monitoring stations in the NCR stood at 232 and 374 microgrammes per cubic meter, respectively.
(With inputs from agencies.)