Smoke without fire: AQI still ‘very poor’


Gurgaon: The air quality remained in the ‘very poor’ category on Monday, with Gurgaon recording an AQI of 395. On Sunday, the city also recorded a ‘very poor’ AQI of 372. The AQI is likely to deteriorate further and slip into the ‘severe’ category because of a dip in temperature, according to Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB).
On Monday, the air monitoring station in Sector 51 recorded the highest AQI of 412, followed by Teri Gram with an AQI of 394 and Vikas Sadan with an AQI of 378. The Gwalpahari AQI data was unavailable.
The minimum temperature in Gurgaon was 10.2 degrees Celsius while the maximum was 25.5 degrees Celsius on Monday.
In Delhi, the air quality improved from ‘severe’ to ‘very poor’ on Monday, with the capital recording an AQI of 389, down from 405 on Sunday. The share of stubble burning-related pollutants in the PM2.5 was 2%.
Currently, the mixing layer height and wind are the dominant factors controlling air quality. The AQI may remain in the ‘very poor’ category upper-end the next three days, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) and the IITM (Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology) early warning system and urban emissions model predicted.
“As per the IMD (India Meteorological Department) weather forecast, Delhi-NCR could experience light rains around December 1-2, which might help bring down the pollution levels to some extent. Given that meteorology will continue to impact the air quality during the winter months, there is a need to assess the requirement for long-term restrictions on activities such as vehicle entry bans and school closures. Further, offices should be mandated to operate at 50% occupancy during the winter months,” said Tanushree Ganguly, programme lead, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).
Ganguly added that if the state could assure financial support to construction workers, it should shut down large-scale construction activities involving heavy machinery and equipment. She also advised people to actively read the air quality advisories before stepping out and skipping avoidable trips.
According to Skymet, the air quality will see significant improvement only after December 6. “The best improvement could possibly happen towards December 6 when Delhi may receive moderate rainfall,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice-president of climate change and meteorology at Skymet.
Meanwhile, the volume of particle pollutants in Delhi’s air remained well above the safe limit as PM2.5 oscillated between 196.7 and 227.2 micrograms per cubic metres, according to Central Pollution Control Board. This was over three time the safe limit as per national standards.
Faridabad’s AQI also improved from 412 on Sunday to 276 on Monday.
On the other hand, the air quality in Noida and Ghaziabad stayed in the ‘very poor’ category, with the cities recording AQIs of 356 and 365, respectively. On Sunday, they had recorded AQIs of 362 and 353, respectively.
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