NEW DELHI: The rainfall in Delhi-NCR on Wednesday and Thursday seems to have done little to clean the city’s toxic air, as the air quality continued to oscillate between the ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ categories on Sunday, authorities said. According to data released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), in as many as 14 areas in Delhi, the air quality was rated ‘very poor’, while in another 14 places, it was deemed ‘poor’.
“The air quality in the capital had shown significant improvement on Wednesday and Thursday, as rain washed away the pollutants. However, the rainfall also resulted in an increase in the air’s capacity to hold pollutants,” said an official associated with System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR), an agency run by the Centre.
The overall air quality index (AQI) in the national capital was recorded at 326 on Sunday, just 75 shy of breaching the ‘severe’ category, according to SAFAR.The level of air pollutant PM 2.5 (particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter), which can enter the bloodstream through the lungs, was recorded at 153. The level of PM 10 (particles less than 10 microns in diameter), another major air pollutant, was recorded by the CPCB at 289.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 to 100 is ‘satisfactory’, 101 to 200 is ‘moderate’, 201 to 300 is ‘poor’, 301 to 400 is ‘very poor’, and 401 to 500 is ‘severe’. In more bad news for residents, the city air could turn even fouler over the next three days, with the level of PM 2.5 and PM 10 likely to jump by about 100 points, putting the AQI back in the ‘very poor category’, according to SAFAR.
Interestingly, stubble burning, which is largely blamed for the worsening air quality in the national capital, has declined and can only have a negligible impact on the air quality. “Wind speed is quite good for dispersion of pollutants and it is keeping pollution in check,” a SAFAR official said.
Air purifier sales soar
With air pollution rising in India, particularly in the Delhi NCR around Diwali, the air purification industry has grown more than seven-fold in three years to around 3.5 lakh units, and is expanding to tier-II cities. During October and the first week of November, air purifier makers witnessed high double-digit growth.