New Delhi: Delhi’s air quality oscillated between ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ on the first day of 2019 as authorities said the pollution level was reducing despite adverse weather conditions, suggesting no additional emissions were added on New Year’s Eve. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, the overall air quality index (AQI) in the city on New Year’s Day was 393, which falls under ‘very poor’ category, while the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) recorded an AQI of 402, which falls under the ‘severe’ category.
‘Severe’ pollution was recorded in 16 areas in Delhi, while ‘very poor’ in 18, the CPCB data showed. Ghaziabad and Noida recorded ‘severe’ air quality, while Faridabad and Gurgaon recorded ‘very poor’. The overall PM2.5 level (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers) was recorded at 267 and the PM10 level at 437 in Delhi, the CPCB said. The SAFAR said the air quality over Delhi was improving slowly in spite of adverse weather conditions. “This tends to suggest that no additional emissions are added last night. Moderate wind speed during the day is dispersing pollutants and AQI is likely to improve but no significant improvement is expected as winds are likely to be calm at any time in the prevailing sensitive environment,” it said.
Ahead of New Year and Christmas, the SAFAR warned that any new trigger, particularly due to “open fire and pyrotechnic display (firecrackers)”, will make the air heavier and thicker which may lead to rapid deterioration in air quality to the severe-plus range. “The moisture-laden wind speed from the west is likely to cover most part of Delhi by tomorrow and foggy conditions are likely to prevail. Air quality is expected to remain very poor for the next three days,” it said.