Toxic air: No quick recovery forecast, says Centre

Published: 10 November, 2020 14:58 IST | IANS | New Delhi

The national capital has been recording severe category air quality since the last six days.

Morning commuters make their way near India Gate in heavy smoggy conditions in New Delhi. Pic/ AFP
Morning commuters make their way near India Gate in heavy smoggy conditions in New Delhi. Pic/ AFP

The Ministry of Earth Sciences on Tuesday said that no quick recovery from the severe air pollution is in sight unless the wind speed improves and moisture content declines in the National Capital Region.

The national capital has been recording severe category air quality since the last six days. Delhi's air quality index stood at 488 micrograms per cubic meter at noon, almost touching the hazardous category.

According to Ministry of Earth Science's System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, "There are 3 major factors which are responsible for the 'terrible' air -- due to entry of high moisture content, extremely calm local surface winds and favourable transport level wind direction."

Due to entry of high moisture content, humidity touched new high and the air holding capacity increased under cool conditions, triggering rapid secondary fine particulate formation, a scientific process when gas-to-particle conversion happens and in-situ chemical production takes place on available surfaces and multiplies PM2.5.

On the other hand, calm local surface winds are arresting all old and new accumulated pollutants and PM2.5 aging was only loss process left. According to the ministry, transport level winds have now reversed and may reduce stubble intrusion.

"But due to the first two factors, no quick recovery is forecast unless moisture content decline with radiative heating. Tomorrow AQI is likely to improve to the lower end of severe to higher end of very poor owing to a forecasted change in transport level wind direction and marginally better ventilation condition," SAFAR said.

The synergized stubble fire counts over Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and neighbouring areas have marginally reduced since last reported but still significantly high and stood at 2,247 on Monday. Stubble burning share in PM2.5 in Delhi's air is estimated at 22 per cent for Tuesday.

Arvind Kumar, Chest Surgeon at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said that there is no individual who breathes clean air or can escape the menace of air pollution. "Air does not know any boundaries. Real solution lies in preventing the air pollution."

Environmental activist Vimlendu Jha listed a seven-point suggestion to the government to address the air pollution.

He requested them to invest in public transport, regulate construction and demolition activities in Delhi-NCR, follow solid waste management rule, shutdown thermal plants in the region, change crop growing pattern, ban mass-scale culling of trees and increase budget on combating pollution.


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