Rain likely in Delhi, may end bad air spell 

The city’s air quality stayed in the ‘severe’ range for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday, the longest bad air spell the city has seen in a go this month since 2019.

Published: 26th December 2021 10:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th December 2021 10:06 AM   |  A+A-

Delhi Pollution

Representational Image. (File | PTI)

NEW DELHI: The city’s air quality stayed in the ‘severe’ range for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday, the longest bad air spell the city has seen in a go this month since 2019. Also, unlike the past two years, the city has so far not seen a single ‘moderate’ air quality day this month.

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 (CAQM) for NCR and adjoining states and as the weather conditions took a turn for the worse.

On Saturday, Delhi’s overall air quality index (AQI) was 431 in the ‘severe’ zone, slightly less than Friday’s 415, as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). It was 423 on Thursday and 407 on Wednesday. Delhi’s air quality has been in this range since Tuesday when the AQI read 402 and has been on the rise since. 

CPCB data showed that while this December recorded six in the ‘severe’ days, 2020 saw four days in this category. While 2019 saw eight days in the ‘severe’ range, the spell came in phases of two to three days.

Also, while last year December saw one day in the ‘moderate’ category with the AQI reading 160, 2019 saw two ‘moderate’ days with the AQI ranging between 160 and 180. This December so far has not seen a single day in the ‘moderate’ category. 

The CAQM on Monday 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.

According to weather officials, 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. 

A senior India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said 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.

“There was no strong western disturbance in early December or even in November to induce enough rainfall to clean up the air. Now, with a strong WD is likely to approach the city on December 26, it may result in good showers over the next two days that will help in significant improvement in air quality,” the official said. 


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