New Delhi: Light rain in Delhi-NCR on Thursday morning failed to bring any considerable relief from soaring pollution. The city recorded ‘poor’ levels of Particulate Matter 10 and 2.5 with areas like Delhi University, Pitampura and IGI Airport registering ‘very poor’ individual PM levels. Even off-border areas like Dhirpur and neighbouring localities like Noida showed similar ominous readings. The smog cover had returned by evening with the atmosphere cooling down.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, gave a ‘poor’ air quality forecast for Friday as well.
Parts of Delhi received drizzles on Thursday as minimum temperature settled at 19.7 degrees Celsius, five notches above average for the season. As per the India Meteorological Department, Safdarjung, Palam and Ridge observatories reported rainfall of 0.1 mm, 0.4 mm and 1.4 mm respectively over the day. Relative humidity was recorded at 80 per cent. However, that only marginally improved the city’s air quality.
As per SAFAR stations, Delhi University recorded PM2.5 index of 357 and PM10 index of 301 (both ‘very poor’); Dhirpur in extreme north of Delhi recorded PM2.5 of 325 and PM10 of 340 (very Poor); Pitampura showed PM2.5 at 302 (very poor) and PM10 at 271 (poor); and IGI Airport reported PM2.5 at 352 (very poor) and PM10 at 286 (poor).
Noida was the worst with PM2.5 and PM10 reading at 393 and 397 respectively, both in the ‘very poor’ category. Particulate Matter – between 10 and 2.5 micrometers in size (PM10), and lesser than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) -is produced from incomplete combustion in industries, vehicles and fires. It settles deep into the lungs, entering even the bloodstream, causing heart attacks and respiratory ailments, besides, being a known carcinogen.
The National Air Quality Index had marked Delhi’s air quality as ‘Severe’ on Wednesday. The rains alleviated it only marginally. Gufran Beign, Project Director at SAFAR, told Mail Today, “Even through Thursday morning, till about 8 am, it was ‘severe’. Only post the rains, the pollution level came down slightly. In the afternoon, it started moving towards bad. By sunset, pollutants had accumulated considerably at the ground level. By Friday, we are sure, the benefits from rain will be lost completely.”
MeT Department Director, BP Yadav, explained, “There was improvement indeed. The visibility level on Wednesday was 500 m. On Thursday, it became 2000 m after the rains. During rain generally, wind speed picks up helping in dispersing pollutants. Atmosphere also turns unstable and as air from lower level goes up, pollutants also rise higher in the sky. Rains also wash away pollution. All these events took place on Thursday.”
“Just that, we think, there wasn’t enough rain.”
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