Delhi's air quality likely to worsen in Diwali

Delhi's air quality likely to worsen in Diwali

The overall air quality index of Delhi was recorded at 392, which falls in the 'very poor' category and is just eight points from turning severe. (Reuters File Photo)

The air quality in Delhi and its neighbouring areas may improve a bit for the next few days due to favourable weather conditions but the situation is likely to go back to the square one on the eve of the Diwali next week.

A western disturbance – a storm that originates in the Mediterranean – currently lying over Pakistan has impacted the western Himalayas, triggering light rain in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and west Uttar Pradesh in the next few days.

In addition, there would be a flow of easterlies preventing the polluted air from Punjab and Haryana carrying dust particles to reach Delhi and its surrounding areas.

Due to such changes in the weather, the atmosphere (in Delhi-NCR) is likely to be unstable over the region which would result in mixing of the pollutants and improved air quality till November 5, India Meteorological Department said in a statement.

While the pollution haze is likely to be in place on Friday, the conditions for dispersal of the polluting particles would be more favourable on Saturday, says an analysis by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune.

As a result, the Air Quality Index for Delhi and its satellite towns like Noida, Gurugram, Ghaziabad and Faridabad are likely to shift from “severe” category to “very poor”.

“But the joy would be short-lived as the polluting haze is expected to return from November 6 onward on the eve of the Diwali, which would be a testing time for all of us,” IMD director general K J Ramesh told DH.

At a review meeting with state governments on Thursday, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan reprimanded Punjab and Haryana for not doing enough to control stubble burning.

“Overall steps taken by the state governments to control stubble burning are far from satisfactory. In Punjab only daily cases of stubble burning were still running into thousands” said Vardhan. Delhi government and administrators of NCR cities have once again asked to completely stop open burning of domestic and industrial waste.

A scorecard devised by the Central Pollution Control Board to check the effectiveness of the anti-pollution measures show that only in 10% cases some sort of action have been taken by the authorities. This means 90% of construction activities, open dumping and burning of the wastes including industrial wastes, traffic congestion and deposition of the road dust continue without any action taken by the concerned agencies.