Rains lashed the national capital on Sunday morning bringing down the temperature by several notches while the air quality was recorded 'very poor'. The major pollutants PM 2.5 were recorded at 373 and PM 10 at 298 (very poor category) in the RK Puram area. In the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium area, the Air Quality Index (AQI) PM 2.5 was at 375 and PM 10 at 301. At the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium area, PM 2.5 was at 315 and PM 10 at 264. AQI at Punjabi Bagh Delhi was recorded 'very poor', PM 2.5 was at 329 while the PM 10 was at 264. Delhi's air quality has been oscillating between 'very poor' and 'severe' categories for the past ten days.
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On Saturday, the maximum temperature was recorded at 20 degrees Celsius. In terms of pollution, the overall air quality on Saturday morning was recorded in the upper level of the 'very poor' category with Air Quality Index (AQI) hovering around 368. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast a fall in the maximum temperature by 2-3 degrees until January 9-10.
"An active western disturbance is very likely to cause fairly widespread moisture intrusion over the northern region of the country including Delhi and withdrawal is expected only after three days," the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said.
The Delhi government has not ruled out enforcing the odd-even traffic rule if pollution levels in the city spiked above safe limits.
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.
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An AQI between 100 to 200 comes under ‘moderate’ category, 201 and 300 is considered ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’ while between 401 and 500 ‘severe’. The overall PM2.5 (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometre) level was recorded at 143 and the PM10 (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometre) level at 253, according to SAFAR.