View of India Gate from Raisina Hill in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Anirudh Saligrama/BloombergQuint)

Delhi’s Air Quality Remains Severe On New Year’s Eve

Pollution levels spiked to “severe” category on New Year’s eve, prompting authorities to warn people that any increase in vehicular pollutants or burning of firecrackers would worsen the situation.

The Central Pollution Control Board data on Monday showed that the city recorded an overall air quality index of 417, while the centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting recorded an AQI of 418, both come under the “severe” category.

According to the CPCB data, 27 areas in the national capital recorded “severe” pollution, while seven witnessed “very poor” air quality.

In the National Capital Region, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Noida recorded “severe” air quality, while Faridabad recorded “very poor” quality air.

The overall PM2.5 level (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) was recorded at 328 and the PM10 level at 488 in Delhi, the CPCB said.

The SAFAR said the air quality would improve slightly “provided that no additional local emissions are added on New Year eve”.

 Women try to protect themselves from heavy smog and air pollution that reached hazardous levels in New Delhi. (Source: PTI)
Women try to protect themselves from heavy smog and air pollution that reached hazardous levels in New Delhi. (Source: PTI)

“The deterioration in moisture-laden wind speed from the west may become fatal at this stage and any new trigger, in terms of local emission, particularly from open fires, firecrackers and burning of fossil fuels will fast deteriorate the air quality and keep it in the ‘severe’ category,” it said.

The India Meteorological Department and the SAFAR said the air quality is likely to remain in the “severe” category owing to low wind speed, which is highly unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants.

The authorities warned that moderate fog and emissions during night hours may result in deterioration of the air quality and this situation may prevail till Wednesday.

The SAFAR also pointed out that a consistent day-night trend is observed for the past week.

“During night, combination of calm wind and colder conditions is elevating the pollution level, wherein many locations, 24-hour rolling average is touching ‘severe’ levels for a few hours, whereas during the day, wind speed is picking up slightly and temperature is increasing to keep the level in the ‘very poor’ range,” it said.