NEW DELHI: As the cold wave conditions prevail in northern India, the mercury level has dropped to shivering levels.
The minimum temperature of 3.1 degrees Celcius was recorded at the Lodhi Road observatory on Monday, the Regional Meteorological Centre of Delhi informed.
Rajasthan continues to experience freezing levels as Churu records -0.5 degrees Celsius, while -1.8 degrees Celsius was recorded in Fatahpur.
As per India Meteorological Department (IMD), in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur, the minimum and maximum temperatures have been predicted to be around 5 degrees Celsius and 19 degrees Celsius, respectively on Monday.
Meanwhile in Jammu, the minimum temperature dips to 3.2 degrees Celsius. To beat the chilling cold, it is common to come across people sitting around a fire to warm themselves these days.
As per the IMD, cold wave to severe cold wave conditions have been prevailing in some parts of north Rajasthan and Punjab, while cold wave conditions prevail in isolated pockets over Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit, Baltistan and Muzaffarabad, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, north Rajasthan and north Madhya Pradesh.
"In addition, dry northwesterly winds of about 10-15 kmph and markedly below normal Maximum Temperatures are prevailing over Punjab, Haryana and north Rajasthan since past three days enhancing the adverse impact of cold wave conditions which are likely to prevail during next three days and improve thereafter," said the IMD.
Dip in air quality
Further intensifying the ongoing winter chill, the Delhi residents continue to breathe polluted air, as the Air Quality Index (AQI) was 222 for PM10 and 183 for PM2.5.
According to the IMD the PM10 exceeded 100. The IMD has issued a "moderate" health advisory which means that sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion and heavy outdoor work.
The PM2.5 level was also under the 'very poor' category.
With the overall AQI at 290, the air quality in the national capital remains in the 'poor' category for the second consecutive day.
According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the concentrations of PM 2.5 and PM 10 stood at 101 in the 'poor' and 181 in the 'moderate' category respectively.
While the air quality in Noida remains in the 'poor' category, the air quality in Gurugram has slipped to the 'poor' category.
The AQI in the NCR region - Noida and Gurugram stands at 293 and 225 respectively.
Usually, the air quality is categorised as 'good' when the AQI is between 0 to 50; 'satisfactory' between 51-100; 'moderate' between 101-200; 'poor' between 201-300; 'very poor' between 301-400; 'severe' between 401-500; and 'hazardous' at over 500.
According to the morning update in Delhi, a temperature of 5.4 degrees Celsius was recorded at 8.30 a.m. with a relative humidity of 91 per cent. Cold wind was blowing in the northwest direction at a speed of 5.4 km per hour.
The city observed sunrise at 7.10 am and the Sun is likely to set at 5.29 pm.
In the past 24 hours, the maximum temperature was recorded at 19.2 degrees Celsius, three notches below the normal, and the minimum was 3.2 degrees.
Delhi, generally, has good to satisfactory air quality. However, the pollution levels during October to February due to various factors including stubble burning, road dust, vehicle pollution, and cold weather lead to a deterioration in the AQI.
Construction to resume
With improved air quality, the Commission for Air Quality Management in Delhi NCR, and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) on Monday allowed entry of all trucks and lifted the ban on construction activities.
After air quality had deteriorated and following the Supreme Court directions, CAQM had continued to ban the construction and demolition (C&D) activities in Delhi NCR since November 27.
For majority C&D projects, work would be allowed to resume provided the proponents followed dust control norms, the CAQM order on Monday said.
Projects or units where specific orders were passed to stop or suspend work, such project proponents would need to individually approach the Commission, it said.
The decision is prompted by the significant improvement in air quality in NCR over the last three days.
The CAQM in its order of November 27 had directed with immediate effect that C&D activities shall not be allowed in NCR, except for the following categories of projects: (a) Railway services/Railway stations; (b) Metro Rail Services including stations; (c) Airports and Inter State Bus Terminals (ISBTs); (d) National security/ Defence related activities/ projects of national importance; (e) Hospitals/ nursing homes/health care facilities; (f) Linear public projects such as highways, roads, flyovers, over bridges, power transmission, pipelines etc; (g) Sanitation and public utility projects like sewage treatment plants, water pumping stations etc; (h) Ancillary activities specific to and supplementing the above categories of projects.
As per 'Source Apportionment of PM10 and PM2.5 of Delhi NCR for Identification of Major Sources' study of August 2018, PM10 contribution from dusty sources (example - road, construction and soil dust) was significant in winter season ranging from 23 to 31 per cent. Similarly, contribution of dusty sources PM2.5 in winter was 15 per cent in Delhi-city as well as NCR towns.