Delhi’s Air Quality Poor For 2nd Day In Row, Review Of GRAP Stage-3 Curbs Likely On Friday

New Delhi: Delhi’s air quality was recorded in the “poor” category for the second consecutive day on Thursday and is predicted to improve in the coming days in view of a likely increase in the wind speed, government agencies said.

With the air pollution levels in the national capital coming down to the “poor” category from “very poor”, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) said it will review the situation on Friday.

The Centre’s air quality panel may take a call on revoking the curbs in place in Delhi-NCR under the third stage (severe) of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), an official said on the condition of anonymity.

All construction and demolition work, except for essential projects, is banned in Delhi-NCR under the third stage of the GRAP.

Brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers are also not allowed to operate.

“The CAQM is keeping a close watch on the changing air quality scenario of Delhi-NCR and accordingly, its Sub-Committee on Graded Response Action Plan will convene a meeting on Friday to comprehensively review the situation for appropriate decision,” the commission said in a statement.

It also issued an order on Thursday, asking authorities to immediately stop polishing, varnishing and painting work at construction sites as these activities create volatile organic compounds that further increase the toxicity of the air and cause harm to human health.

“These activities cannot be treated as a non-polluting category of construction and demolition activities under clause 4(iii) of stage-III of GRAP and need to be stopped at project sites, whenever GRAP stage-III orders are invoked or are in operation,” the order read.

Delhi’s air quality improved on Wednesday owing to a favourable wind speed at night, sporadic rains in adjoining states and a considerable drop in emissions from stubble burning.

The 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) of the national capital stood at 295 on Thursday. It was 260 on Wednesday, 372 on Tuesday, 354 on Monday, 339 on Sunday and 381 on Saturday.

The AQI recorded on Wednesday was the lowest since October 20, when it was 232. For the month of November, it was the best AQI since November 29, 2020, when it was 231, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

An AQI between 201 and 300 is considered “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.

V K Soni, the head of the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) Environment Monitoring and Research Centre, said a favourable wind speed — 10 to 18 kmph — is predicted to bring a considerable improvement in the air quality from Friday.

The Delhi government had, on Monday, decided to reopen primary classes from November 9 and revoke the order asking 50 per cent of its staff to work from home in view of the improvement in the city’s air quality over the last few days.

However, the BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheelers stayed off the city roads under the third stage of the GRAP.

The CAQM had directed the authorities on Sunday to lift the ban on the plying of non-BS VI diesel light motor vehicles in the region and the entry of trucks into the capital imposed under the fourth stage of the GRAP.

The number of farm fires in Punjab increased from 1,778 on Wednesday to 1,893 on Thursday. The share of farm fires in Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution also increased from 5 per cent on Wednesday to 8 per cent on Thursday, according to data from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute and SAFAR, a forecasting agency under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.

(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. No editing has been done in the headline or the body by ABP Live.)