Delhi AQI improves to `moderate` category as gusty winds, rains flush out key pollutants

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New Delhi: Delhi`s air pollution on Wednesday (November 18) went down drastically as gusty winds and rains flushed out key pollutants helping the AQI to improve from `poor` to `moderate` category. Most of the areas in the national capital on Wednesday morning, including Pusa Road, Lodhi Road, IIT-Delhi, Indira Gandhi International Airport (Terminal-3) and Ayanagar recorded air quality in the `poor` category with an AQI of 111, 121, 135, 139, 173 and 156 respectively, according to SAFAR estimates.

These “clean air” days will be short-lived, as pollution is likely to spike again from Saturday. The Air Quality Index (AQI) touched 132, according to the latest estimates updated by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR). PM10 has now become the lead pollutant instead of PM2.5.

The environment watcher bodies, however, stated that significant improvement in Delhi air quality would be short-lived. The Ministry of Earth Sciences officials have also predicted the AQI likely to deteriorate soon.

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Acording to the ministry, one of the reasons behind the deterioration could be increased share of stubble burning in the atmosphere. It said, “Stubble burning share in PM2.5 in Delhi`s air is likely to increase marginally and estimated as 8 per cent. The AQI is likely to marginally deteriorate and forecasted to be in moderate to the Poor category for tomorrow.” 

It further stated that “Surface winds are calm and boundary layer wind direction is North-Westerly (favourable for intrusion). Effective Stubble fire counts with sufficient potential estimated from SAFAR-multi-satellite products are marginally increased and are around 427.” 

Meanwhile, several farmers continue to burn stubble near Jalandhar`s Phillaur area in Punjab, on Wednesday. The process of burning farm residue is one of the major causes of air pollution in parts of north India, deteriorating the air quality around this time of the year. 

Combing with vehicular emission, it adversely affects the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital, keeping it between `very poor` to `severe` category. The governments- both Centre and at the state level, take several steps to lessen the pollution. 

On November 7, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar inaugurated a compressed biogas demonstration plant in Pune for biomass production during a meeting held to discuss “steps taken for prevention of air pollution in Delhi-NCR with emphasis on finding a permanent solution.”

In a tweet, Javadekar said, “Government is taking all steps to combat air pollution in Delhi and North India and we will be using all possible technological interventions towards that. We have launched a demonstration plant virtually at Pune which produces compressed biogas from biomass.” 

He said, “It`s my pleasure to be present on this occasion. Such technology (biogas plant) will take care of the issue of stubble burning especially in North India.” 

(With Agency Inputs)

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