Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

Thick Haze, Smog Engulfs Delhi As Air Quality Slips To 'Hazardous'

Thick Haze, Smog Engulfs Delhi As Air Quality Slips To 'Hazardous'

The stubble burning induced impact is expected to decline and if no additional emissions from Firecrackers are added then Air Quality will improve during Diwali period (7-8th November, 2018), but will remain in "Very Poor" category. The Air Quality Index (AQI) around Mandir Marg recorded PM 10 levels at 707 and PM 2.5 at 663.

"Even if 50% of the total load of toxic fire crackers as compared to Diwali a year ago is added, the prevailing weather conditions would aggravate the high smoke level and make air quality to persist in "severe" category for at least two days (8 and 9 November)", said the report. On Monday, the index had turned "severe" in Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, and "very poor" in nearby Gurugram and Hapur.

Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain on Tuesday appealed to residents of the national capital to celebrate a crackers-free Diwali in order to reduce air pollution.

However, smoke from fireworks would get trapped, forcing levels of particles in the air to become significantly higher in the morning, taking air quality to the "severe" category.

"The contribution of stubble burning to pollution in the national capital is expected to be 24 per cent on Monday", another official said.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 is marked as severe or hazardous.

Paddy stubble burning that often takes place in this season in the neighboring states of Haryana and Punjab was also blamed for increasing the pollution levels in the national capital.

Delhi's air quality is likely to deteriorate to "severe plus emergency" category on Thursday, the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) announced.

Warning that the Diwali day is expected to be polluted, weather analysts say that while now the polluting north-westerly winds are blowing higher at 5,000 meters, bringing a temporary relif to the region, the particles will start settling down, adding to pollution on Diwali.

However, even if 50% of the total load of toxic fire crackers as compared to Diwali-2017 is added, the prevailing weather conditions will aggravate the high smoke level and make air quality to persist in "Severe" range for at least 2 day (8-9 November, 2018). The ventilation coefficient is expected within 7000-8000 m2/s. Winds coming from north westerly direction bring influence of biomass burning pollutants in Delhi-NCR.

On Tuesday the air quality in the city remained in very poor category at 338. SAFAR's forecast report said favourable weather conditions resulted in a lower AQI than what was expected.

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