1, March, 2024
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Delhi’s Air Quality Deteriorates to ‘Very Poor’ Levels

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For the fourth consecutive day, Delhi and its surrounding regions find themselves engulfed in a thick haze as the capital’s air quality registers as ‘very poor.’ According to a numerical model-based system developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune, two major culprits behind this deteriorating air quality are vehicular emissions, contributing 11% to 16%, and stubble burning, accounting for 7% to 16% of the pollution.

The 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) for Delhi has surged to 359, marking the highest of the season. This is a significant jump from the previous days, which saw AQIs of 347, 325, 304, and 261, with even lower levels earlier in the week. Neighboring regions, including Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurugram, Noida, and Greater Noida, also experienced a worsening of air quality.

Meteorologists attribute this deterioration to the absence of rainfall, with an AQI of 210 recorded for October 2023, worse than in previous years. The upcoming weeks are critical, as peak pollution is expected to occur from November 1 to November 15, coinciding with increased stubble burning incidents in Punjab and Haryana.

Delhi’s pollution woes are compounded by unfavorable weather conditions, emissions from firecrackers and paddy straw burning, and local sources of pollution. A reduction in stubble burning incidents in Punjab and Haryana compared to the previous year provides hope for improving air quality. These states have taken measures to reduce farm fires and manage crop residue more effectively.

The Delhi government has implemented a 15-point action plan to combat air pollution. This plan targets dust pollution, vehicular emissions, and open burning of garbage. Additionally, it comprehensively bans the manufacture, storage, sale, and use of firecrackers within the city.

Despite these efforts, addressing Delhi’s air quality challenges remains a complex and ongoing endeavor. The recent decline in air quality during October highlights the need for comprehensive strategies to combat pollution effectively.

Recent data reveals that Delhi’s air quality in October 2023 hit its lowest point since 2020, largely attributed to the absence of rainfall. Despite this, the Central Pollution Control Board reports that the city’s average AQI from January 1 to October 31 this year stands at 172. This makes it the second-best performance for this period in six years, with 2020 being the only year with better air quality due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact.

While the challenge of improving air quality in Delhi is formidable, these trends indicate that progress is possible. As the capital and its neighboring regions grapple with air pollution, sustained efforts and innovative solutions are essential to safeguard the health and well-being of residents.

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