NEW DELHI: Air quality in the national capital showed a slight improvement, from ‘severe plus’ to ‘very poor’, on Saturday. The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi at 5 pm was recorded at 399, a significant decline from the day before, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The CPCB attributed the improvement in AQI to a decline in stubble burning in NCR states.
According to the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), under the Union ministry of earth sciences, surface winds in the city remained calm on Saturday, as a result of which the drop in air pollution was marginal and not significant.
Stubble burning incidents in the northwest, especially Haryana and Punjab, which rose to a peak of 3,178 on October 31, dropped to 268 over the last 24 hours. Parts of the national capital also experienced light rain on Saturday, giving a semblance of respite to residents battling pollution. Met officials said that a western disturbance has grown into a cyclonic circulation over Jammu & Kashmir and another is on the making.
“Winds are going to pick up in Delhi and the NCR belt from Sunday onwards, helping dissipate pollutants in the air. We expect the air to be much cleaner by November 5. However, there is no possibility of heavy rainfall in the coming days. There will be light rain in parts of Delhi-NCR,” Kuldeep Srivastava, head of regional weather forecasting at IMD, told this newspaper. Randeep Guleria, director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, said residents, especially those battling heart and lung ailments, should stay indoors to the extent possible.
‘Children pawns in Kejriwal’s pollution game’
Hitting out at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for urging students to write to his counterparts of in Haryana and Punjab on severe pollution in the city, Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said he was milking the issue for political benefit. “This will create malice among children of these states,” he said. Party colleague Vijay Goel, too, accused Kejriwal of not being serious about curbing pollution.