A train travels along a rail track shrouded in smog in India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Authorities Warn Of Deterioration Of Delhi’s Air Quality After Diwali

Delhi’s air quality was recorded in “very poor” category as wind continued to blow from regions where there is rampant stubble burning, authorities said, warning of severe spike in pollution levels after Diwali even if “partial toxic crackers” are burnt compared to last year.

The overall Air Quality Index was recorded at 394, which falls in the “very poor” category, according to data by the Central Pollution Control Board.

The AQI was recorded at severe category of 434, the highest of the season, on Monday it said. The PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) level was recorded at 243, while the PM10 was recorded at 372 in Delhi on Tuesday.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 is “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.

Twenty areas in Delhi recorded “severe” air quality, while 13 areas recorded “very poor” air quality. Authorities attribute the continuous pollution to the change in wind direction, which is now blowing from the direction of stubble burning areas of Punjab and Haryana.

About 14 percent of the PM2.5 pollution in Delhi was caused due to stubble burning, while the share stood at 33 percent on Monday.

Winds coming from the north-west direction is bringing influence of biomass burning pollutants in Delhi-National Capital Region which may continue up to Wednesday morning, said Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.

Delhi’s air quality is expected to deteriorate to “severe plus emergency” category after Diwali, the central government-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research said.

“Even if 50 percent 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 two day on Nov. 8 and Nov. 9,” the SAFAR said in a report.

Watch the Primetime debate on Delhi’s air pollution here