Air quality slips in Delhi, National Capital Region and several places across north India
Air quality turned worse on October 28, 2019 — the day after Diwali — as the day progressed in and around Delhi.
Around noon, the count of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 was above 400 microgam per cubic metre in all but one monitoring station (Gurugram), according to SAFAR, a body under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. At Delhi University, the PM 2.5 count was at 740 microgam / cubic metre.
The safe level for a 24-hour period is 60 microgram / cubic metre. PM 10 levels were also up to similar levels.
SAFAR had warned that lighting up even half the fire crackers than in 2018 could pull down AQI to ‘severe’ in Delhi NCR. Ordinary fire-crackers were banned this Diwali and only QR-coded green crackers were to be allowed. The ban though was flouted.
Poor air quality persisted in across north India, according to private weather data provider aqi.in. Several cities in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh showed worrying readings. Muzzaffarnagar in western UP was at particularly bad. Many such locations are usual suspects for agricultural stubble burning, a major factor inducing air pollution.
Whether or not the air quality in the north will improve soon will depend on meteorological factors such as wind and moisture.
Other parts of the country were largely unaffected. Major cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru showed relatively much safer AQI readings, not crossing 200. In many places it was below 100. A reading below 50 is considered ‘good’.
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