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Delhi’s air quality remains in ‘poor’ category

The deteriorating air quality during winter months has become an annual crisis in Delhi-NCR with the onset of cold weather conditions and increase in stubble burning in neighbouring states

Delhi’s residents woke up to hazy skies and a cover of smog as the Capital city’s air quality remained in the ’poor’ category on Saturday morning. The air quality index (AQI) was 261 in the early hours of the day, higher than the 235 average AQI recorded on Friday.

The deteriorating air quality during winter months has become an annual crisis in Delhi-NCR with the onset of cold weather conditions and increase in stubble burning in neighbouring states. This season, air Quality in the Capital entered the poor category with the Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded at 207 on October 6, and very poor category (304) on October 14, according to the System of Air Quality, Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

Data from the Indian weather office shows a sharp increase in farm fires in Punjab and Haryana, with 3,517 incidents till October 15 in this harvest season, compared to a third that number last year.

According to the Air Quality Early Warning System under the ministry of earth sciences, the predominant surface wind is likely to be coming from the east of Delhi, with wind speed likely to be up to 10 kmph with a mainly clear sky — reflecting a possibility that pollutants could be dispersed.

But the Regional Meteorological Centre, Delhi, said winds are likely to be variable on Saturday and Sunday. “There was hardly any wind till 7.30am today. It was calm. Now winds are northswesterly and speed is only 5kmph. Minimum temperature has also fallen to 16.8 degree C compared to normal of 19.4 degree C. Sometimes wind direction may change but when its northwesterly, the impact of stubble burning in the northern states will be felt,” said Kuldeep Shrivastava, head, regional weather forecasting centre.

According to weather scientists, light to moderate rain is likely at a few places over coastal districts of Saurashtra during the next 24 hours. Sea conditions will be rough to very rough over east central and adjoining northeast Arabian Sea on October 17 and over central and adjoining northwest Arabian Sea on October 18. This is likely due to the low-pressure area over east central and adjoining northeast Arabian Sea, which is likely to move west-northwestwards and concentrate into a depression over east central and adjoining northeast Arabian Sea during the next 12 hours.

A fresh low-pressure area is also likely to form over central Bay of Bengal around October 19. It is likely to become more marked during the subsequent 24 hours and bring heavy to very heavy rainfall at several places over Odisha and coastal Andhra Pradesh. Heavy rainfall is also likely over the rest of the east peninsular coast of India on October 18 and 19.

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