New Delhi: The air quality index (AQI) in Delhi-NCR moderated to 410 on Saturday evening as light rains helped to wash out some pollutants.
The AQI reading for Delhi, which was 435 on Saturday morning, reduced somewhat to 410 by the evening. More importantly, the PM 10 count has dropped from 'severe' to 'very poor' at 411.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) AQI reading for the past 24 hours at 4 p.m. on Saturday showed that Delhi was no more in the 'severe' category as values had dropped to 399, taking it to 'very poor' category.
The values were in the 'severe plus' category for the past five days, leading the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) to declare a public health emergency in the national capital on Friday.
However, the AQI for Noida was still higher at 432 while Fatehabad and Hisar in Haryana reported dangerous levels of pollution at 493 and 490, respectively.
Among the other cities in north India with AQI in the 'severe' category were Hapur (444), Jind (459), Kaithal (408), Lucknow (422), Patna (428), Greater Noida (438), Ghaziabad (453), Faridabad (404), Bulandshahr (446) and Baghpat (435).
According to a forecast by Safar India, "After Friday's severe plus condition, air quality of Delhi significantly improved but continued to remain in the severe category."
The AQI is expected to remain in severe category till most of Saturday as surface wind speed is likely to remain calm and hence reduction may not be significant.
"However, the AQI is likely to recover further by Sunday to the upper end of very poor," Safar India said.
Aiding the recovery is the fact that drastic reduction has been recorded in effective stubble fire counts (268) in Haryana and Punjab during the last 24 hours after touching a peak value of 3,178 on October 31.
The stubble share in PM2.5 is now predicted to drop down significantly to 17 per cent on Saturday owing to reduction in fire counts and change in upper wind direction to northerly instead of north-north-westerly.
Earlier till Friday, in the wake of favourable boundary layer meteorology prevailing between Delhi and the stubble burning regions, supported by calm surface wind condition in Delhi, accumulation of pollutants sharply increased as stubble share in Delhi's PM2.5 touched a season high of 44 per cent on October 31 and 38 per cent on November 1.
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