Delhi-NCR air quality improves to ‘moderate’ category

AAP leader Atishi demands that ‘criminal negligence cases’ be filed against Punjab and Haryana CMs

After days of “severe” and “very poor” air pollution, the air quality of Delhi improved to the “moderate” category on Tuesday, the best in more than one and a half months, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data.

The air quality of Noida also got better and came to the ‘moderate’ category, while that of Gurugram continued to be in the ‘poor’ category.

In a related development, AAP leader Atishi on Tuesday said that “criminal negligence cases” should be filed against Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana. “Due to criminal negligence of Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana, the people of Delhi NCR have been suffering for the last 1.5 months from pollution due to stubble burning. Criminal negligence cases should be filed against both the CMs,” Ms. Atishi said.

The air quality index of Delhi was 171 on Tuesday, better than 221 on Monday, as per CPCB’s 4 p.m. bulletin, which is an average of the past 24 hours. The values for Gurugram and Noida were 204 and 178 respectively.

The last time the air quality of Delhi was better than Tuesday’s was on October 1, when the AQI was 152.

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

Ms. Atishi said that the pollution due to stubble burning has further weakened the lungs of the people already affected due to COVID-19. “Due to reduction in stubble burning incidents in the last two days, Delhi is witnessing cleaner air and lower pollution,” she said.

Pollutant dispersion

“The overall air quality of Delhi is in the ‘moderate’ category as of today morning. Surface winds are west-southwesterly and energetic, very favorable for pollutant dispersion. Rainfall along with stronger winds under the influence of western disturbance helped to clean the build-up of pollution in the Indo-Gangetic plain,” said government-run monitoring agency SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research) in a statement.

The AQI is likely to marginally deteriorate and stay in the ‘moderate’ to the ‘poor’ category on Wednesday. “The AQI is forecasted to further deteriorate to the higher end of ‘poor’ to lower end of ‘very poor’ category on November 19 and 20,” SAFAR said.

The contribution of stubble burning in neighbouring states to PM2.5, a chief pollutant, in Delhi was estimated to be only 3% on Tuesday.

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