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Home / Politics / Policy /  Delhi air quality improves, but likely to worsen over next few days

New Delhi: The air quality in Delhi improved slightly on Wednesday, bringing down pollution levels from “severe" to “very poor", even as a thick haze continued to envelop the city.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital improved from 401 on Tuesday evening to 358 on Wednesday, according to the centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR). An AQI of 301 to 400 is very poor, while anything more than 400 is severe.

“The wind speed increased early in the morning, which led to fast dispersal of pollutants and prevented the air quality levels from reaching emergency levels," said Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR.

The low wind speed over the northern states has also impeded the transport of pollutants from stubble burning in crop fields of neighbouring states towards Delhi.

The share of biomass to PM2.5 pollution shows a decreasing trend from 22% on 31 October to 13% around 2 November.

However, the air quality is likely to worsen around 3 November, when western disturbances over the upper Himalayas begin to withdraw, according to officials.

“The withdrawal of western disturbances is likely to lead to deterioration of air quality, as there will be a spike in moisture levels, which increases the air’s capacity to hold PM10 and thus causes more pollution," he said.

Satellite pictures with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the US show a thick haze over the northern region.

The Environment Pollution (Control and Prevention) Authority chairman, Bhure Lal, sounded an alarm on rising air pollution levels on Tuesday, calling for stringent action, including restrictions on private vehicles in Delhi, if air quality plunges to ‘severe+ or emergency’ levels.

More than 50 teams from the Centre Pollution Control Board are also monitoring sources of air pollution at the ground level to take action against the violators. Construction activities have been banned temporarily and the Delhi government has also ordered the use of water sprinklers to mitigate dust pollution.

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