Delhi continues to grapple with hazardous air quality levels, persisting in the “very poor” category for the sixth consecutive day on Thursday. The 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) stood at 389 at 7 am, only marginally lower than the 395 recorded at 4 pm a day earlier. According to the Union earth sciences ministry’s Early Warning System, there is no significant change anticipated in the near future.
The prolonged spell of very poor air quality is attributed to cold northwesterly winds prevailing over the region for the last two days, causing a dip in temperature. On Thursday, the wind direction was expected to shift to easterly. Delhi recorded a minimum temperature of 10.6°C on Wednesday, a degree below normal and the lowest this season since November 15.
The outlook for the next six days does not bring relief, as the air quality is likely to persist in the very poor category. The hourly average AQI has consistently remained in the severe category during the morning hours, transitioning to very poor post-noon when temperatures rise and winds pick up.
Meteorologist Kuldeep Srivastava explained that the wind direction, which had been northwesterly, would become variable, fluctuating between easterly, southeasterly, and northeasterly over the next two days. Additionally, a western disturbance is expected to impact Delhi on November 27, potentially bringing drizzle to some parts of the city.
Despite daytime winds picking up, experts highlight that dipping temperatures and calm winds during the night contribute to the gradual accumulation of pollutants, leading to compromised air quality in the early morning hours when people start their day.
The ongoing air quality concerns underscore the need for sustained efforts to address the complex factors contributing to Delhi’s air pollution, including vehicular emissions, industrial activities, and crop burning in surrounding regions. As authorities work to implement measures for air quality improvement, residents are urged to take precautions to minimize exposure to hazardous air pollutants.