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Delhi’s air quality turns ‘poor’; experts cite unfavourable weather



Delhi’s air quality turns ‘poor’; experts cite unfavourable weather

Delhi experienced a significant deterioration in air quality as it dipped to the ‘poor’ category on Wednesday due to unfavourable meteorological conditions and forest fires in neighbouring states, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said.

The city’s 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) rose to 243 by 4 pm, prompting the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), a statutory body tasked by the Centre with planning and implementing air pollution reduction strategies in Delhi-NCR, to convene a review meeting with experts from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.

The 24-hour average AQI noted on Sunday was 183 in the ‘moderate’ category, after which the index entered the ‘poor’ category with a reading of 227 on Monday and 234 on Tuesday.

At the review meeting, the experts told the CAQM panel that the wind direction and speed are rapidly changing due to high convection rate and completely dry conditions, along with high temperatures, are leading to continued suspension of dust over the region.

They noted that the high incidence of agricultural residue burning in and around NCR areas and forest fires in the adjoining states could also be impacting the overall air quality of the region.

The CAQM directed air pollution control bodies in NCR and other agencies concerned to conduct intensive drives at major pollution hotspots in the region focusing on dust abatement measures. It also asked them to augment the number and frequency of water sprinklers and mechanical road sweeping equipment in the region.

The commission also instructed them to closely monitor fire incidents and open burning of municipal solid waste, as well as to intensify enforcement of dust control measures at construction and demolition project sites.

In addition, flying Squads of CPCB will also intensify inspections for appropriate action against sites, and projects flouting the statutory directions of the commission.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered “good”, 51-100 “satisfactory”, 101-200 “moderate”, 201-300 “poor”, 301-400 “very poor” and 401-500 “severe”. An AQI above 500 falls in the “severe plus” category.

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