Delhi's air quality has once again dipped to "very poor" levels, with the city experiencing smog and high levels of pollution for the fifth consecutive day. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the average air quality index (AQI) stood at 371 at 11am on Wednesday. This alarming situation has raised concerns about the health risks faced by residents, particularly those with pre-existing respiratory conditions.
The Early Warning System (EWS) for Delhi has predicted that the air quality will remain in the "very poor" category for the next six days. On Tuesday, the AQI slightly increased to 354, following Monday's average of 347. The forecast indicates that similar conditions will persist in the coming days, and the air quality is not expected to reach "severe" levels until November 9.
CPCB data has revealed that several areas in Delhi are experiencing even more severe pollution. Anand Vihar recorded an AQI of 417, while IGI airport saw a level of 349. Mundka and Sirifort recorded AQIs of 411 and 362, respectively. These readings indicate dangerously high levels of particulate matter, primarily caused by local sources like vehicles and transboundary pollution from neighboring towns in the National Capital Region (NCR).
The change in wind direction, from northwesterly to southeasterly, has further aggravated the air quality situation. Despite an increase in crop burning incidents across the northern plains, the current northeasterly winds are contributing more to Delhi's PM 2.5 count. This, coupled with pollution from surrounding areas, has led to a gradual deterioration of the air quality.
In terms of weather conditions, Delhi experienced a lower minimum temperature on Wednesday, standing at 16.4 degrees Celsius compared to Tuesday. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts clear skies with shallow fog on Thursday. The IMD further forecasts that clear skies will return during the day after November 3, which may result in a further decrease in minimum temperature.
It is crucial for residents of Delhi to take necessary precautions to protect their health during this period of poor air quality. Measures such as minimizing outdoor activities, wearing masks, and using air purifiers indoors are recommended to reduce exposure to pollutants. Authorities are urged to intensify efforts to address the issue, including stricter enforcement of pollution control measures and monitoring of sources contributing to the poor air quality in the city.