NEW DELHI: The national capital’s air quality improved to the ‘poor’ range on Wednesday, owing to light rain the previous day. With the year’s last rain over, the mercury is set to drop further, while the city may see moderate to dense fog over the coming week, said weather officials.
The city recorded an overall air quality index (AQI) of 267 in the ‘poor’ zone, as against 305 the previous day. The air quality had improved to ‘poor’ earlier this week on Monday, owing to light showers on Sunday, but became ‘very poor’ again on Tuesday.
Prior to this, air quality remained in the ‘severe’ zone for six consecutive days — the longest spell of bad air since 2015 (since when air quality records are being maintained in the city). According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), the Safdarjung Observatory which is the base station for Delhi, received 3.8 mm rainfall over the past 24 hours.
The Palam weather station received 2.6 mm rain; Lodhi Road received 5.6 mm, Ridge recieved 0.6 mm and Ayanagar 1.0 mm rainfall, over the past 24 hours. IMD officials said that since this is the last western disturbance affecting the Western Himalayan Region that had its impact on the northern plains, the temperatures will start to drop again from December 30 onwards along with fog.
“The drop in mercury along with fog cover may worsen the air quality. However, good winds over the next few days may help keep pollution levels in check,” said a IMD official. The Union ministry’s early warning system of weather and air quality forecasting said, “Relatively high wind speeds are likely for the next three days, from December 30 to January 1, enhancing ventilation effecting the air quality to be in lower end of ‘poor’ or ‘moderate’ category.” It further said, “Gradual increase in maximum air temperature is likely for the next five days that enhances vertical mixing diluting near surface pollutants. AQI is expected to be within lower end of ‘poor’ or ‘moderate’ category.”