New Delhi: Air pollution in Delhi ameliorated marginally on the back of strong winds on Saturday (November 12) but farm fires raging in Punjab prevented a significant improvement in the air quality. Delhi’s 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) stood at 303 on Saturday, improving from 346 on Friday. It was 295 on Thursday. An AQI between 201 and 300 is considered “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”. Officials at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said winds gusting up to 18-20 kmph barrelled through the city during the day, improving air quality and visibility levels.
The Centre’s air quality panel had on Friday said curbs under stage 3 (severe) of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) will continue in Delhi-NCR as the air pollution in the region is showing an upward trend.
All construction and demolition work, except for essential projects, is banned in Delhi-NCR under the third stage of the GRAP. Brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers are also not allowed to operate.
The commission noted that north-westerly wind flow is conducive for an increase in the impact of farm fires on the capital’s air quality.
According to data from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), farm fires in Punjab dipped from 3,916 on Friday, the highest this season so far, to 2,467 on Saturday.
Their share in Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution also declined from 19 per cent on Friday to 17 percent on Saturday, according to SAFAR, a forecasting agency under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
However, the data from the Decision Support System of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology showed that “biomass burning” was the top contributor to air pollution in Delhi-NCR on Saturday.
With air pollution ameliorating in Delhi, the CAQM had on Sunday directed authorities to lift the curbs imposed under stage 4 of the GRAP, including a ban on use of non-BS VI diesel light motor vehicles in the region and the entry of trucks into the national capital.
The CAQM order recommending the restrictions was issued on Thursday.
The Delhi government had also shut primary schools and ordered 50 per cent of its staff to work from home last week.
However, the directions were rescinded following an improvement in air quality.
According to an analysis conducted by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee last year, people in the national capital breathe the worst air between November 1 and November 15 when stubble burning peaks and winters set in.
The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) released by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago in June showed that residents of Delhi stand to lose 10 years of life expectancy due to poor air quality.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.