Delhiites woke up to a smoggy Monday morning even as the Air Quality Index (AQI) remained in the ‘poor’ category. Major pollutants PM 2.5 -- fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometre, and PM 10 --- particulate matter 10 micrometer or less in diameter, were recorded at 260 and 258, respectively in the Lodhi Road area, while AQI in the Anand Vihar area was in the ‘severe’ category. The national capital’s air quality had dipped significantly on Sunday and the authorities had warned that it would deteriorate further in the next few days because of the fall in temperature that leads to the slower dispersion of pollutants.
Delhi: Major pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 are at 260 and 258 respectively in Lodhi Road area, both in 'Poor' category, according to the Air Quality Index (AQI) data. pic.twitter.com/QGah6Zcygf— ANI (@ANI) December 10, 2018
The Central Pollution Control Board recorded an overall AQI of 377 on Sunday, which was the highest in the past 20 days. The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said that the wind dispersion was low and on top of that the western disturbances might impact the region’s air quality by bringing in moisture and making the air heavy. Moderate fog and fall in temperature might lead to an increase in pollution levels in the coming days.
However, things could turn for the better if a sufficient amount of rainfall occurs as predicted by the Meteorological Department of India. It can be expected that the air quality will hover around the ‘poor’ category. "Levels of gaseous pollutants, NOx and CO are forecast to be enhanced -- up to moderate range -- after a long time due to a fall in boundary layer height and reduced vertical mixing," the SAFAR said.
Delhi is reeling under the menace of air pollution for the past couple of years. The region faced a major air quality crisis last year when severe pollution level forced the shutdown of schools and colleges. In 2016, the government tried to explore the possibility of cloud seeding for artificial rain but the plan never worked out.