cold day Delhi
Credit: Representational Image

Delhi’s air quality continued to remain in the ‘poor’ category for the fifth consecutive day despite a forecast of slight improvement. The air quality index (AQI) stands at 220, as reported by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) at 8 am; merely any breakthrough from Saturday when the 24-hour average was recorded at 221.

For the first time since June, Delhi’s average AQI has been in the poor category from Wednesday.

According to the central government’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), air quality and weather forecasting service, the AQI could see a gradual drop from Sunday in the next two days.

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“A low pressure formed over the Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify and move west-northwestwards and influence the circulations in north and central India. A shift in Delhi’s surface wind direction from northwesterly to southeasterly by October 12 is forecast. This could influence air quality positively in the coming week,” the SAFAR forecast stated.

The national capital have been suffering from poor air quality around this time of the year in the past few years. Various factors such as drop in temperature, variations in wind speeds and directions,increasing farm fires in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana in addition to the rise in dust accumulation and other local contributors to pollution have led to worsening of the air quality.

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Strict norms will be enforced to curb air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR) as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) from October 15. The action plan has been in effect for three years in Delhi and NCR.

Starting from October 15, the use of diesel generators will no longer be allowed in Delhi and other NCR towns such as Noida, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, Faridabad, and Gurgaon. Diesel generators sets will only be permitted to function for emergency and essential services.

In addition, pollution control authorities will be patrolling at night to keep an eye on dust and industrial emissions, along with burning of waste. Mechanised sweeping and frequent sprinkling of water so as to settle the dust on the roads have also been directed.

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