New Delhi: The air pollution levels in the national capital have reached dangerously high levels thanks to calm surface winds and low ventilation conditions. On Friday morning, the air quality in Delhi reached ‘severe’ category with the AQI touching 461, according to the latest estimates updated by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR). PM2.5 remains the lead pollutant instead of PM10 as a characteristic of wintertime.
‘Severe’ air in Delhi
According to SAFAR estimates updated at 6 am, several areas in the national capital including Delhi University, Pusa Road, Lodhi Road, Mathura Road, IIT-Delhi and Indira Gandhi International Airport (Terminal-3) recorded air quality in the severe category with an AQI of 420, 430, 424, 521, 416, 424 respectively.
However, air quality was slightly improved in Ayanagar in Delhi with an AQI of 384 in ‘very poor’ category. According to SAFAR, AQI between the range of 51 and 100 is considered as ‘satisfactory’ or ‘very good’, 101-200 is ‘moderate’, 201-300 falls under the category of ‘poor’. While 300-400 is considered as ‘very poor’, levels between 401-500 fall under the ‘hazardous’ category.
“Surface winds are calm and the minimum temperature is likely to fall further. The AQI is forecast to deteriorate rapidly in next 3 days. SAFAR forecast reveals that AQI will be in the higher end of very poor to severe category on Friday and then will enter in severe category for 16-17 January. This is likely to be the first extended extreme air pollution event for 2021. The combination of dense fog formation leading to secondary particulate formation under congenial conditions of high humidity, extremely low ventilation and shallow boundary layer height is a major reason for the predicted smog episode,” said SAFAR prediction.
Air quality in NCR
The air quality in the NCR was no different from the rest of Delhi. On Friday morning, Gurugram and Noida registered air quality in the ‘very poor’ and severe category with an AQI of 384 and 416 respectively.