Overnight rains bring respite

Overnight rains bring respite
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Delhis air quality improved significantly on Wednesday as overnight rains washed away bigger pollutants and stubble burning in neighbouring states declined, contributing just three per cent the lowest this month to pollution

New Delhi: Delhi's air quality "improved significantly" on Wednesday as overnight rains washed away bigger pollutants and stubble burning in neighbouring states declined, contributing just three per cent - the lowest this month- to pollution.

Though the conditions provided some respite to the city which has been reeling under "severe" pollution for the past one week, the air quality was still far from safe and fell in the 'very poor' category with AQI of 306. The AQI has been oscillating between severe and the upper range of very poor for the past one week even crossing 600, post-Diwali.

According to the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR), the contribution of stubble burning to the pollution in Delhi has been recorded the least on Wednesday for this month at 3 per cent. On November 5, the contribution of stubble burning was the highest this month at 33 per cent.

On Wednesday, the PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) level was recorded at 175, while the PM10 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres) was recorded at 280 in Delhi, according to the data by the Central Pollution Control Board. Twenty one areas in Delhi recorded 'very poor' air quality, while 14 areas showed 'poor' air quality, the CPCB said.

Similar conditions are likely to prevail in the coming days, according to SAFAR. Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Greater Noida and Noida recorded 'very poor' air quality while Gurgaon's air quality was recorded in the 'poor' category, it said.

SAFAR said air quality has "im

proved significantly mainly due to sufficient rainfall last night that washed away bigger particles and created space for faster dispersion without decline in temperature. AQI is back to 'very poor'. A slight increase in AQI is predicted in next three days but it is likely to remain in ‘very poor’ category," SAFAR said.

This is mainly due to the fact that surface winds are still low and temperature is likely to cool down, it said. "Stubble fire is unlikely to impact Delhi air quality index (AQI) as fire counts are significantly down and winds are also flowing from other direction," SAFAR said in a report.

EPCA calls for new measures

EPCA chairman Bhure Lal recommended to the pollution watchdog CPCB on Wednesday that it should implement either the odd-even scheme or impose a complete ban on non-CNG private vehicles if the air pollution level in Delhi increases again.

Reacting to the recommendation by the chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed authority, the Central Pollution Control Board said the additional steps, including the complete ban on non-CNG private vehicles, should be "deliberated" by the EPCA, which is a larger body.

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