Delhi smog conditions improve; air quality in UP, Haryana still grim

There is nothing to be happy about the improvement in Delhi's air quality since pollutant levels have not gone down yet, according to experts
Smog in Delhi. Photo: Vikas Choudhary / CSE
Smog in Delhi. Photo: Vikas Choudhary / CSE

The smog situation in Delhi and the National Capital Region, caused by residents bursting firecrackers on Diwali despite a ban on them, appeared to have improved slightly November 8, 2021, with more wind movement. However, air quality in several towns of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana that border Delhi was still ‘severe’.

“The Air Quality Index (AQI) for Delhi at 4 pm November 8 was 390, which means ‘very poor’. There has been some improvement because of the change in wind direction. But it is not much since the pollutant levels are still very high. Moreover, stubble burning has contributed to 30 per cent of the pollutant levels November 8. So, there is nothing to be happy about,” Avikal Somvanshi, programme manager and expert at Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment’s Sustainable Cities Programme, said.

The Air Quality Index represents 24-hour average air quality data. The air quality is considered to be ‘very poor’ when the AQI is from 301-400, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines.

An AQI of 0-50 is considered ‘good’, 51-100 ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘moderate’, 201-300 ‘poor’ and 401-500 ‘severe’. Above 500 is the ‘severe-plus or emergency’ category.

Earlier, the AQI for Delhi was recorded as being ‘severe’ November 7. It was 428. The contribution of stubble burning was 46 per cent November 7.

The air quality in 10 cities in Uttar Pradesh and two cities in Haryana was recorded as ‘severe’ November 8. Here are the figures according to the CPCB:

Agra, UP 451
Baghpat, UP 415
Ballabhgarh, Haryana 403
Bulandshahar, UP 402
Firozabad, UP 462
Ghaziabad, UP 431
Hapur, UP 422
Jind, Haryana 418
Kanpur, UP 426
Meerut, UP 405
Noida, UP 404
Vrindavan, UP 464

Pollutants in the air in Delhi-NCR remained at emergency levels for nearly 40 hours from 11.30 am, November 4 till 2.30 am, November 6. PM2.5 levels were recorded at a constant 300 micrograms per cubic metre during this period.  PM10 and PM2.5 levels at 6.30 pm, November 7, were three times more than their average levels.

The issue has once again become politicised. Delhi’s environment minister Gopal Rai has called for talks with the states bordering Delhi.

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