NEW DELHI: The farm fire events in Punjab and Haryana on Saturday were higher than the previous day, yet Delhi observed a marginally improved air quality. The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) settled to the “very poor” category with a reading of 381 in the day, as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data. The slight improvement in the air quality came after the city experienced the “severe” category of AQI for two consecutive days in the week.
Weather experts said upper surface winds saved the day for Delhi-NCR though farm fires raged in northern states and the proportion of stubble burning emission in Delhi sky came down from the previous day. “The upper-level wind flow from stubble burning areas prevented inflow of pollutants from getting into Delhi.
The emissions with a fire count contributed 21% to PM2.5 pollution. Local surface wind velocity of 10 to 12 kmph caused moderate dispersion of pollutants,” said an official of Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. Officials predicted the AQI to improve to the lower end of “very poor” or “poor” for the next two days as a drop in farm fire events and a reduction in local emissions is expected.
However, the day started with the pollution levels in Delhi continuing to remain in a ‘severe’ category as the AQI stood at 447 on Saturday noon. However, as the day progressed, it improved slightly from severe to very poor as 30 of the 37 monitoring stations recorded the AQI below 400.
Areas that recorded severe AQI are Bawana (406), Jahangirpuri (404), Narela (408), RK Puram (403) and Sonia Vihar (407), according to the CPCB. On Thursday, the air quality deteriorated to “severe plus” category as the overal l AQI stood at 450 prompting the authorities to implement GRAP-IV measures in the entire Delhi NCR. Primary schools in the city were ordered to remain shut while half of the Delhi government staff was told to work from home. CM Arvind Kejriwal had said on Friday that the city government was contemplating bringing back odd-even traffic rationing measures for vehicles.