Delhi’s air quality remains shrouded in the “very poor” category for the fourth consecutive day, with concerns rising about whether the situation will improve in November. Two sets of data on Delhi’s air quality were released on Tuesday, painting a complex picture of the capital’s environmental challenges.
According to data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi experienced the “worst” air quality in October this year, with an average Air Quality Index (AQI) of 210. This figure stands in stark contrast to the previous year when the AQI was also 210 and the more favorable AQI of 173 in October 2021. An AQI of 210 is categorized as ‘moderate’ under the air quality index.
In contrast, the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) presents a more positive perspective. They reported that Delhi’s daily average air quality for the ten-month period between January and October 2023 was the second-best in the last six years. This finding suggests a consistent trend of relative improvement in Delhi-NCR’s air quality.
The challenges for Delhi’s air quality remain daunting as November approaches. Punjab recorded 1068 farm fires on Sunday, marking the highest count of the season. Experts express concerns that the worst is yet to come, as the harvesting season began later than usual this year. Stubble burning, a major source of pollution in Delhi-NCR, is likely to further deteriorate air quality.
Despite the ban on firecrackers in the national capital, air quality tends to worsen on Diwali and the day following the festival. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has enforced a complete ban on firecrackers in the city until January 1, 2024.
With unchanging weather conditions and dropping temperatures, Delhi’s residents are bracing themselves for continued exposure to the toxic air. November poses significant challenges for improving air quality, demanding collective efforts and innovative solutions to mitigate the capital’s pollution woes.