NEW DELHI: While Delhi has seen heavier and more incessant record-breaking rain spells over the past two months, the air quality index (AQI) has not crossed the ‘satisfactory’ mark. As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi’s overall AQI was 46 on Monday in the ‘good’ category, a drastic drop from 298 in the higher end of the ‘poor’ zone recorded on Sunday. This is the first good air day the year has seen and that too in October, which is primarily when bad air days are known to begin. According to weather experts, good air days are mostly recorded during monsoon months.
Explaining the reasons, Mahesh Palawat, vice-president, Skymet, said that the clear skies and good air were the results of the spell that was both continuous and widespread. “Unlike in the past two months, the rainfall this time was much more widespread and not just limited to Delhi. It covered most of the country at the same time and with easterly winds, the air was anyways clean, as rainfall in the eastern parts of the country was much heavier,” he said.
Last year, five good air days were recorded with four of these being observed in August following heavy rains and one in March (during the first week of the Covid-19-induced lockdown). On August 31, the AQI reading of 41 was the lowest since 2015 when the AQI monitoring records had started being maintained in the national capital.
As per the CPCB data, in 2019, two consecutive ‘good’ days were recorded on August 18 and 19, with the AQI readings of 49 on both of those days. The year 2018 did not record any ‘good’ air day. In 2017, two such days were seen with AQI readings of 43 and 47, respectively. The years 2016 and 2015 did not record any ‘good’ days.