Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) improved slightly (344) on Thursday (November 18) morning before regaining Wednesday’s peak of 375, shows the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data. In any case, the air quality in the national capital remains in the ‘very poor’ category.
Weather scientists say improvement in air quality is unlikely till coming Sunday (November 21). The air quality is likely to improve Sunday onwards due to relatively strong winds.
As per the CPCB data available at 2pm on Thursday, Faridabad had an AQI of 350, Ghaziabad (352), Greater Noida (323), Gurugram (304) and Noida (300). An AQI between zero 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.
As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the minimum temperature in Delhi this week could drop to 9 degrees Celsius and the maximum temperature will remain around 27 degrees C. Dropping minimum temperature is unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants.
On Wednesday, the maximum temperature was recorded at 27 degrees and the minimum temperature hovered around 9.6 degrees Celsius, which is three degrees below normal and the lowest for the season so far.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality monitor SAFAR stated that smoke from stubble burning is unlikely to enter Delhi for the next two days because the transport level wind direction is easterly.
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Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai sought a meeting with neighbouring states and Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav to find a solution to Delhi’s pollution woes. Rai said he cannot control 70% pollution that happens in Delhi because of adjoining areas, but said he definitely owes responsibility for the rest 30% pollution and his government is acting on it.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that his government plans to implement the odd-even vehicular scheme in Gurugram (part of National Capital Region) to reduce pollution.
Schools, colleges and educational institutions in the National Capital Region will remain closed until further orders. Only five of the 11 thermal power plants located within 300 km radius of Delhi will be operational till November 30.
Delhi and the NCR cities have been instructed to halt construction and demolition activities till November 21. Only those trucks with essential goods are allowed to enter city limits.