New Delhi: Air quality in Delhi improved with PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels dropping in parts of the national capital, a day after the pollution had soared to the ’emergency’ level. The city’s average Air Quality Index (AQI) was 336 on a scale of 500, classified as ‘very poor’, marking a significant improvement from ‘severe +’ category on December 21. According to the Central Control Room for Air Quality Management of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the NO2 levels measured at stations at R K Puram, Anand Vihar, Dilshad Garden and Dwarka were 38.67 microgram per cubic metre (ug/m3), 67.83 ug/m3, 35.85 ug/m3 and 24.3 ug/m3 respectively.
A CPCB-led taskforce on December 21 recommended the closure of all coal-based industries operating in Delhi-NCR for a fortnight from January 15 to contain air pollution during the upcoming ASEAN summit in Delhi. The taskforce, formed under the Centre-notified Graded Response Action Plan, made the recommendation to the Environment Pollution – Prevention and Control – Authority EPCA) as part of a series of proposals in light of pollution touching the ’emergency’ level again.
The ASEAN summit is scheduled to take place between January 19 and 30 in the national capital. At 2 pm on December 21, the concentration of PM2.5 was 320.9 microgram per cubic metre (ug/m3), while PM10 was 496 ug/m3, four units short of the emergency limit – 500 ug/m3. At 6 pm, the corresponding readings were 314 and 487 ug/m3.
The latest spell of pollution started on the night of December 19. Since then, the pollution graph has steadily risen, mainly due to a drastic fall in wind speed which is preventing dispersion of pollutants.