High humidity keeps Delhi's air quality index in 'severe' zone

Environment Minister Gopal Rai said that the government will not compromise on pollution and will take necessary action if air quality in the city keeps deteriorating.

Published: 25th December 2021 07:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th December 2021 07:48 AM   |  A+A-

Delhi pollution, Delhi AQI

Smog and air pollution in Delhi. (File photo| Parveen Negi, EPS)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The city's air quality stayed in the 'severe' range for the fourth consecutive day on Friday. The long pollution spell started soon after the slew of curbs put in place to stop the growing pollution levels by the Commission for Air Quality Management and the weather conditions took a turn for the worse.

On Friday, Delhi's overall air quality index (AQI) was 415 in the 'severe' zone, slightly less than yesterday's 423, as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The CAQM lifted all the curbs including ban on entry of trucks in the city and construction activities, considering an improvement in air quality owing to high speed winds, which died down soon afterwards.

The city saw cold wave conditions earlier this week, when stable weather conditions did not allow dispersion. This was followed by two successive western disturbances, with which the wind direction changed and moisture content increased further allowing accumulation of pollutants.

"All these factors one after the other including the lifting of all the curbs and resumption of activities contributed to accumulation of pollutants while there was little or no dispersion," said India Meteorological Department (IMD) official.

The official added that winds dying down, high humidity levels allowing pollutants being entrapped too close to the earth’s surface led to the pollution levels remaining high for a longer period. On the brighter side, however, officials said that another western disturbance approaching the northwest region on December 26 is likely to induce good showers during December 26-29, which may wash out the pollution.

The union ministry of earth sciences' early warning system said, "AQI is in 'severe' category due to low ventilation and pollutant entrapped below 900 mbar. Easterly winds are blowing over the city, which are mainly too slow. There is not enough ventilation for dispersion of pollutants."

Meanwhile, the environment department cracked down on industrial units in east Delhi’s Jhilmil Industrial area, where it has issued show cause notices for closure to a total of 1,186 units not complying with norms.

"Six teams conducted the survey where irregularities were found. Most defaulting units were those not operating with consent and violating norms," said a senior official. According to officials, at least 65 units in the Onotice range category were running without consent and were issued notices as well as environmental compensation of Rs 1 lakh each.

'Can't compromise on pollution'

Environment Minister Gopal Rai said that the government will not compromise on pollution and will take necessary action if air quality in the city keeps deteriorating. The authorities withdrew the emergency measures in view of a continuous improvement in the air pollution situation, he said. "If the situation remains unfavourable, we will consult experts and the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) and take necessary action," Rai said. 


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