Winter drizzle improves Delhi-NCR air to 'poor'

The air quality of Delhi-NCR improved from “very poor” to “poor” on Tuesday even after 7.8 mm rainfall over past 24 hours, but is liken to worsen again, said officials. According to the officials, the reason for not enough improvement is only a slight dip in high level of pollutants already present in the air here, along with a hike in moisture and s drop in temperature. On Tuesday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi at 4 pm was 219 or “poor” against 361 or “very poor” on Monday at the same time. “There is improvement but not enough, as rains had reduced the density of effluents however the moisture content is high,” Shambhavi Shukla, a researcher at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and member of the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority told IANS. According to experts, the mixing height of pollutants have increased a bit, which will however not help with improvement of air quality due to low wind speed and moisture levels. “This is certainly not a reason to celebrate.. the air quality is still poor,” Shukla added. According to the forecast received by EPCA from India Meteorological Department (IMD), the scope of considerable improvement in the region’s air quality are still low. On December 7, even as the drizzling was way too low compared to that between Monday and Tuesday, the AQI of the national capital improved to “moderate” from “very poor” earlier, due to the meteorological conditions. The most polluted regions across NCR, including Vasundhra in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad, Anand Vihar in east Delhi, Sector 125 in Noida and Delhi Technical University (DTU) in north Delhi saw “very poor” air quality despite rains, with the major pollutants PM2.5 or particles with air with diameter less than 2.5 micrometers ranging between 123 to 194. This is four to seven times the safe limit as per international standards. The maximum temperature on Tuesday dropped to 21.7 degree Celsius, two notches below the season’s average, against 27.2 on Monday. However the minimum temperature increased to 13.8 degrees, five notches above the season’s average, against 8.2 degrees on Monday. According to IMD, the temperature drop is likely due to cumulative meteorological reasons. “Wednesday would see minimum temperature of about 10 degrees, while the maximum is likely to hover around 21 degrees,” an IMD official told IANS. The national capital saw low speed dry and cold north-westerly winds blowing at around 6 kmph, however despite this, humidity increased on Tuesday ranging between 71 to 100 percent. “There are no chances of rains in Delhi-NCR as of Tuesday night,” said IMD, adding that the high moisture would however lead to dense fog towards Wednesday morning. This is a reason that air pollution is most likely to shoot back, according to the monitoring agencies. According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), Delhi-NCR air quality is set to deteriorate from Wednesday onwards, with aggregate 91 (poor) PM2.5 levels on Tuesday to 118 units or “poor” on Wednesday and 127 units on Friday, considered “very poor”.

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It didn't last long: Delhi all smogged out again

The improvement in the air quality turned out to be short-lived as Delhi-NCR started inhaling toxins again with virtually no winds and cases of stubble burning in the national capital itself on Sunday.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi saw a considerable drop in the air quality, with Air Quality Index (AQI), recorded at 4 p.m on Sunday, reporting 377 or “very poor”, against 305 “very poor” on Saturday and 217 or “poor” on Friday. The AQI at Ghaziabad (448) and Noida (415) were back to severe after two days of a breather on Saturday and Friday. The level of major pollutant PM2.5, or particles in air with diameter less than 2.5 micrometers, across Delhi-NCR at 6 p.m. was 241, while in Delhi alone, it was 237 units — about nine times the safe limit as per international standards. The air quality was placed “severe plus” at Anand Vihar (PM2.5 at 389) in east Delhi; Delhi Technical University (PM2.5 at 332) in north Delhi; Sector 125, Noida (304) and Vasundhara in Ghaziabad (367). Meanwhile, at R.K Puram in south Delhi, the air quality was severe with PM2.5 at 6 p.m. recorded at 271. The safe limit for PM2.5 according to the international standard is 25 microgrammes per cubic metre and 60 by national standards. Meanwhile, the satellite images from NASA showed spordic incidents of stubble burning in regions in Delhi itself as well as regions across Punjab, Harayana and Uttar Pradesh. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Delhi saw no winds on Sunday, a possible reason for sudden increase in the pollutants. “There had been no wind in Delhi as observed during 2.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. on Sunday. The previous wind direction was southerly which is moist in nature, however at present with no winds. direction could not be assessed,” an IMD official told IANS.  
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Delhi-NCR gets normal air after two months

With air quality in Delhi-NCR finally improving to “moderate” due to the meteorological conditions, pollution monitoring agencies say it is the first December in three years that the national capital has inhaled “normal” air.

On Thursday, Delhi and the region around it saw a “moderate” air quality with the Air Quality Index (AQI) at 194 in Delhi at 4 p.m. It was consistent till 9 p.m. This is the first time that normal air quality was seen across Delhi-NCR since October 7 this year, while it is first December to have normal air in the last three years, officials said. “The wind speeds are up and it also drizzled at places, beside for past two days, we ensured curbing of extra emissions from burning of garbage, controlling fire at landfill sites and by water sprinkling,” A. Sudhakar, Member Secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), said.

AAP govt takes U-turn on odd-even scheme

Within 24 hours of its assurance to launch the next round of odd-even scheme without exemptions, the Delhi government on Thursday made a U-turn and filed a review petition at the National Green Tribunal (NGT), seeking exemptions again. On Wednesday, the Delhi government’s counsel assured the Tribunal that it would bring the odd-even scheme as directed by the green court, which includes no exemptions for women drivers and two-wheelers. “The government wants to implement odd-even with exemptions… We have filed a review plea,” the Delhi government counsel said here after the bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar asked its stand on the scheme. Earlier in November, when the Delhi-NCR faced “severe-plus” or “emergency” air quality situation that calls for implementation of the odd-even scheme under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), the NGT directed the Delhi government to implement the road rationing scheme without any exemptions for women drivers and two-wheelers. The matter will be heard on Friday. Observing that the air quality in Delhi and NCR was never “normal”, the Tribunal had earlier also directed the Delhi government and neighbouring states to spell out their action plans and how they would implement the GRAP, given the severity of the air quality. The Delhi government’s plan recommends implementation of odd-even plan, check on entry of trucks in the city, ban on construction work and asking parents not to allow their children to play outside when air quality turns “severe”.
Sudhakar added that efforts were bolstered in the last two days as the national capital hosted cricket matches where Sri Lankan players seen on the field wearing masks. “Officials were posted at all the landfill sites to actively check any incident of fire and it was doused within hours. Earlier, it would take civic bodies 48 hours to douse such a fire. Besides, the stubble burning totally stopped,” Sudhakar added. On Thursday, the most polluted regions including Vasundhra in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad, Anand Vihar in east Delhi and Delhi Technical University (DTU) in north Delhi saw normal air quality, ranging between “poor to moderate” since over 70 days as per records. The level of major pollutant PM2.5, or particles with diameter less than 2.5 micrometers, at 9 p.m. was 88 across Delhi, while in Delhi NCR it was 87 against 254 and 261 on Tuesday. The safe limit for PM2.5 according to International standards is 25 microgrammes per cubic meters and 60 units as per national standards. “There could be more Decembers, but we began monitoring in 2015, since then it’s for the first time when air quality has reached moderate,” the official added. (IANS) // ]]>

Delhi air pollution fails cricket Test at Kotla

Really sad state this, when they have to come out and play with masks on. And to think about the people who go through this plight on a daily basis. Pictures compare the AQI in #Delhi with that in #Trivandrum and #SriLanka. #INDvSL #DelhiSmog pic.twitter.com/ViCuXG2OcP

— Govind Sreekumar (@realGovindS) December 3, 2017 As Delhi air quality deteriorated and it became hazy just after the lunch, umpires discussed the issue with the players and the match was halted for around 15 minutes. The national capital woke up to a cold-polluted Sunday morning with minimum temperature recorded at 8 degrees Celsius, a notch below the season’s average and a “very-poor” air-quality. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the sky will remain partly clouded with the maximum temperature likely to hover around 26 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile the major pollutant concentration PM2.5, or particles with diameter less than 2.5 micrometers across Delhi-NCR at 9 a.m. was 218 units—eight times more than the safe limit. According to the Central Pollution Control Authority (CPCB), the air-quality fell under “severe-plus or emergency” levels at Anand Vihar in west Delhi with PM2.5 reaching 433 in the morning—17 times the safe limit, sector 125 Noida and Vasundhara in Ghaziabad. In Delhi, Delhi Technical University (DTU) in north Delhi and R.K Puram in south-west Delhi fell under “severe” air-quality. While monitoring agencies predict the air-pollution situation to worsen over days, respite is likely towards Tuesday with possibilities of light rains. “The national capital is likely to witness light rainfall on Tuesday, which may improve the air-quality,” an IMD official said. (Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editorial policy) (with IANS) // ]]>

Delhi-NCR air marks 52 days of deadly quality

It’s a problem that refuses to go away. Even as a few areas in Delhi-NCR fell out of the “severe-plus or emergency” category to “severe”, the ambient air quality of the national capital remained “very poor” on Tuesday — the 52nd day since the region has been bereft of clean air.

According to the monitoring agencies and latest forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the air quality is expected to remain “very poor” for at least till Sunday December 3. “The wind speed is expected to slow down, the pollution situation is expected to hover around very poor till December 3. The values may oscillate between poor or very poor,” Polash Mukherjee, Research Associate at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and member EPCA, told IANS. On Tuesday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) was “severe-plus” at Anand Vihar, while it recorded “severe” in parts of Ghaziabad, Noida and Delhi Technical University (DTU) in north Delhi. In Delhi, with an AQI of “very poor”, average concentration of the major pollutant PM2.5 or particles with diameter less than 2.5 micrometers, was 187 units, while in Delhi-NCR it was 195 units — about seven times higher than the safe limits as per international standards. At R.K Puram in south west Delhi, PM2.5 at peak was 279 units at 6 p.m. According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), PM2.5 concentration was above 300 units at Dhirpur, Pitampura and Delhi University in north Delhi, Mathura Road and Ayanagar in south Delhi, IGI Airport, Noida and Gurugram.
It’s not just Delhi, or just in winter    A study has pointed out that air pollution is neither Delhi-specific or limited to winter alone. At least four other cities have suffered more compared to Delhi in terms of the number of days and severity of air pollution. The annual concentration of major pollutant PM2.5, or particles with diameter less than 2.5 micrometres, was more in Gurugram, Kanpur, Lucknow and Faridabad, the study by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC-India) said. It said Patna and Agra had annual concentration of pollutants similar to Delhi.h Te study analysed records from 18 monitoring stations of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) from November 2016 to October 2017. This includes the monitoring station in R.K. Puram area of south-west Delhi, which is among the most polluted areas with an average PM2.5 concentration of 256 units, compared with an average 191 units in Delhi on Tuesday. The study found that between the said period, Delhi suffered 146 days of bad air quality — “very poor” PM2.5 levels on 120 days and “severe plus” on 26 days. Gurugram was worse off with 190 days of bad air quality, including 133 days under “very poor” and 57 days under “severe plus” category.   In terms of “severe plus” days, nine out of the top 10 most polluted cities were ahead of Delhi. Gaya in Bihar suffered pollution for 42 days, Muzaffarpur for 34 days, Patna for 37 days and Agra for 37 days in this category. The study shows that the annual PM2.5 concentration in Delhi was around 130 units, Faridabad (170), Kanpur (166), Gurugram (163) and Lucknow (143). Patna (128 units) and Agra (120) were close to the Delhi figure. The safe limits for PM2.5 is 25 microgrammes per cubic metre as per international standards and 60 units as per international standards. “Lucknow, Gurugram, Kanpur, Faridabad, Patna and Agra had annual PM 2.5 concentration three times higher than the national air quality standard,” the study pointed out. “It is a problem faced throughout the year and not just during the winter times. The days we included were from all seasons and not just winter months… It also shows that there is an immediate need for long-term and systematic policy measures at the city, regional, and national levels to improve air quality,” Dr Santosh Harish, senior researcher, EPIC-India, said.
Meanwhile, as the stubble burning continues unabated in neighbouring states and the capital itself, as shown by satellite images, the National Capital Region saw the 52nd day of persistent toxins. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) records, Delhi-NCR last saw “moderate” Air Quality Index (AQI) on October 7, 2017, and had been reeling under “poor” to “severe” category. The records further showed that since October 17, Delhi has been consistently breathing “very poor” air, while for seven days from November 7 to 13 it was either “severe” or “severe-plus”. Reeling under “very poor”, “severe” or “emergency” AQI since October 17, Delhi however got a breather due to light rain for one day only on November 19, when the AQI was rated “poor”, after which the air quality kept worsening to the date.

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  (Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editorial policy)
(with IANS)
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Hell returns: Delhi-NCR air at dangerous levels again

With at least six areas witnessing “severe-plus or emergency” and “severe” category of air quality on Monday, the national capital is set to inhale more toxins in next three days due to unfavourable changes in weather conditions and the stubble burning that continues unabated in Delhi-NCR itself.

According to the data from Central Pollution Control Board, the Air Quality Index (AQI) across Delhi-National Capital Region continued to be “very-poor” with higher concentration of pollutant even during the day time. The major pollutant PM2.5, or particles in air with diameter less than 2.5 micrometers, had an average value of 216 units across Delhi-NCR, while it was 219 in Delhi alone at 2 p.m. Anand Vihar in east Delhi, Delhi Technical University in North Delhi and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh have “severe-plus or emergency” air quality. While, Punjabi Bagh in west Delhi and R.K. Puram in south Delhi and Sector 25 in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida has “severe” air quality at 2 p.m. According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), with no scope of improvement, Delhi-NCR’s air quality is set to deteriorate over the next three days. With PM2.5 value ranging between 315 to 376 units at 2 p.m. at all ten monitoring stations of SAFAR across Delhi-NCR, the monitoring agency advises “no outdoor physical activity and less indoor activities” for the sensitive groups, and advises mask to everyone else. The regions with respective PM2.5 values include Dhirpur (319), Pitampura (353) and Delhi University (358) in North Delhi; Pusa (319) and Lodhi Road (315) in central Delhi; and Mathura Road (376) and Ayanagar (347) in south Delhi.

AAP govt issues health advisory

As Delhi residents continued to battle pollution, the AAP government on Monday issued a health advisory and urged people not to smoke and go in for carpooling, among other things, to tide over the environmental crisis. It advised people to avoid going outdoors during the early morning and late evening hours as pollution levels were the maximum at those times. “Avoid going to high-pollution areas during peak hours. Stay indoors as much as possible. Schools may avoid outdoor assemblies, sports activities, and other physical activities in early mornings,” the advisory added.
Meanwhile, at IGI Airport PM2.5 was 354, at Gurgram in Haryana it was 350 and Noida it was 323 units — all at least 12 to 13 times higher than the permissible limits. The safe range for PM2.5 as per International Standards is 25 microgrammes per cubic meters and 60 units as per national standards.
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Pollution: how can everyone join hands to curb the menace

 
“Stop outdoor activity at early morning and after sunset times. Go for a short walk instead of a jog and take more breaks,” said a SAFAR’s medical advisory meant for everyone. “Stop any activity level if you experience any unusual coughing, chest discomfort, wheezing, breathing difficulty, or fatigue. Avoid burning of wood, candles or incense. Masks known as N-95 or P-100 respirators may only help if you go out.” The satellite images from NASA continue showing incidents of stubble burning in southern Delhi over the past week, as well as across Punjab and Haryana. According to the weather analysts, while Delhi’s wind directions changed now from north-westerly (coming from Punjab) into westerly, the air pollution will still increase over the next two days due to increase in moisture. “By (November) 29, the winds will change again into high moisture South-westerly winds, which will form mist or haze in the region. With high humidity, air’s capacity to hold pollutant increases,” Mahesh Palwat, director private weather forecasting agency Skymet told IANS. (IANS) // ]]>

Weather eases Capital's crisis, but air still poor

Smog has lifted almost as quickly as it descended on northwest India. Wider meteorological factors, possibly extending beyond India, are at play. Scientific studies needed. Panicky, Delhi-centric responses, such as school closures, only brought bad publicity for the capital city.

— Brahma Chellaney (@Chellaney) November 19, 2017 Satellite images from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Sunday showed increased stubble-burning in Punjab’s Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Firozpur, Fazilka, Muktsar, Bathinda, Moga and Kapurthala districts in the past two days. “Farmers in these districts are burning stubble now since crop residue could not be burnt earlier on due to moisture, and due to the fact that it’s almost time to prepare the fields for the winter crops,” Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Punjab unit member Omkar Singh said. With Delhi set to receive north-westerly winds (coming from Punjab and Haryana) over the next few days, the air quality in the national capital may see a slight deterioration. According to the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), however, good wind speed will help air quality from deteriorating any further. “As per an advisory from the weather officials and SAFAR, winds will catch speed and thus pollutants will not have much effect. The pollution levels are supposed to drop from very-poor to poor,” Polash Mukherjee, a researcher at the Centre for Science and Environment, and member of the EPCA, said. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, average Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi-NCR at 5 p.m. on Sunday was 292 compared with 298 on Saturday, both considered “poor”. The major pollutant, PM2.5, or particles with diameter less than 2.5 micrometers, was recorded above 290 units—about 11 times the safe limit. However, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), seven out of 10 monitoring stations across Delhi-NCR saw PM2.5 value above the danger level of over 300 units. SAFAR rated Delhi-NCR’s air-quality as “very poor”, with areas like Dhirpur, Pitampura and Delhi University in north Delhi, Indira Gandhi International Airport, Mathura Road, and Ayanagar in south Delhi, and Gurugram placed in the “very poor” category based on their respective air quality and PM2.5 levels. While the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted “no rains” over the next few says, weather analysts said they were expecting that the good wind speed alone will dissipate the additional pollutants entering the national capital and surrounding areas from Punjab. “Today the wind speed was around 20 kmph, which is considered good. The north-westerly winds will continue for the next three days —speed is expected to vary between 10 and 15 kmph, which will help in dispersing the pollutants here,” Mahesh Palawat, Director of private weather forecasting agency Skymet, said.
    (Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editorial policy)
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