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Air Quality Index in Delhi: Delhi’s Battle with Smog and Worsening ‘Very Poor’ Air Quality

Air Quality Index in Delhi: As winter creeps upon Delhi-NCR, the capital city grapples with an all-too-familiar foe: smog and deteriorating air quality. On Monday morning, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR India) reported that Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) had plummeted to 309. The telltale signs of a thick, smoky blanket shrouding the city’s skies were hard to miss. The city’s annual tussle with air pollution is back, and the AAP government and the central authorities are gearing up to combat it.

Air Quality Index in Delhi: Deepening Concerns

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the AQI in various parts of the city paints a grim picture. Bawana recorded a staggering AQI of 333, Dwarka Sector 8 station’s index stood at 320, and the Lodi Road-IMD observatory reported an AQI 258. Even the neighboring city of Gurugram is trapped in this predicament, with an AQI categorized as ‘Poor’ at 269.

Understanding the Deterioration

Delhi’s Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, attributed the surge in pollution to the decrease in wind speed as cold weather sets in. As the environment and health are increasingly at stake, a meeting has been called to discuss the implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) phase 2.

GRAP Phase 2: A Ray of Hope

Minister Gopal Rai emphasized the importance of GRAP phase 2, which focuses on cleanliness and water sprinkling, among other measures. The frequency of buses and trains will be augmented to reduce the use of personal vehicles. Additionally, Rai reached out to the environment ministers of neighboring states, seeking their cooperation in curbing stubble burning. With Diwali and Dussehra approaching, the next 10 to 15 days are critical for Delhi’s air quality.

Smog’s Wide Grasp

It’s not just Delhi that bears the brunt of this pervasive smog. Mumbai is also experiencing its struggles, with an AQI of 127, categorizing it as ‘Moderate’ on the SAFAR India scale. The Bandra Kurla complex observatory in Mumbai had a worse AQI of 196. In contrast, Borivali East station saw a slightly better AQI of 129, as per data from CPCB. Colaba’s air quality has been classified as ‘Poor’ with an AQI of 250.

Air Quality Index in Delhi: Delhi-NCR’s Lingering Struggle

For Delhi, this isn’t just a temporary problem. The capital’s air quality descended to ‘Very Poor’ for the first time since May 17, indicating the longevity of the struggle. Unfavorable meteorological conditions have been a major factor. Almost all areas in Delhi have recorded air quality in the ‘very poor’ category, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The situation is expected to persist for the next few days due to a drop in temperature and the inflow of emissions from stubble burning.

Government’s Response

The central government’s Decision Support System for Air Quality Management anticipates increasing paddy straw burning starting Monday. Smoke from paddy straw burning contributed 16% of Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution on a Sunday and could rise to 30-32% on Monday. The government has put out a plea for vulnerable groups such as the elderly and children to stay indoors, given the deteriorating air quality. It advises against heavy exertion and physical activity outside due to the potential health risks.

The Perennial Challenge

Air Quality Index in Delhi: While smog in Delhi and the broader NCR region is an annual occurrence during October and November, it is essential to underscore the persisting threat. The menace arises from various climatic factors and the burning of stubble by farmers in Punjab and Haryana. Despite ongoing efforts by the central and Delhi governments, the issue remains a significant public health concern with no easy solution. As Delhi-NCR confronts this perennial problem, authorities are using a combination of regulations and advisories to mitigate the harmful effects of smog and deteriorating air quality.

As the region gears up to face the challenges that come with the onset of winter, residents and authorities must remain vigilant and committed to tackling the issue of air pollution and smog in Delhi and beyond.


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