NEW DELHI: Widespread rainfall helped clear the air in the city on Monday, as the air quality index (AQI) improved to ‘satisfactory’. Although this has been the cleanest October in over five years, weather officials warned of air quality deteriorating over the coming week with winter setting in early.
A nip in the air combined with a rise in stubble burning activity and the festive season is likely to push pollution levels up gradually, said officials. As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi’s overall AQI was 82 in the ‘satisfactory’ zone on Monday. This is an improvement from the ‘moderate’ category over the past three days when the AQI was 178, 177 and 199, respectively.
As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the Safdarjung Observatory received 27.5 mm rainfall on Sunday. According to IMD officials, the widespread rain was a result of a western disturbance which also resulted in snowfall over the Western Himalayan Region.
“Winter is setting in early this year, which resulted in early snowfall in the Himalayas. Cold north-westerly winds travelling from the snow-clad mountains to the city will result in a dip in the minimum (night) temperature over the next two days,” said a senior IMD scientist.
Vice-president of Skymet Mahesh Palawat said that the night temperature is likely to drop to 14 degrees Celsius by October 28-29. “Usually winter starts setting in by the first week of November. The early snowfall has resulted in the drop in mercury. Besides, the smoke from stubble burning, the haze because of the dip in temperature allows local pollutants to settle on it as well, which is close to the earth’s surface and hence allows higher concentration of pollutants,” said Palawat.
‘Take active part in campaign’
Delhi’s councilors gathered at the Barakhamba Road Crossing and encouraged people to join the ‘Red Light On, Gaadi Off’ campaign to reduce vehicular pollution. Environment Minister Gopal Rai said the people are contributing to curb pollution generated.
“Recently, AAP MLAs took part in this campaign and today, the councillors have taken the initiative ahead. We have decided that we will take it forward through public participation in all the seven Lok Sabha constituencies,” he said.