EPCA says Delhi's air quality may deteriorate to 'severe' on Saturday; urges residents to avoid going out

EPCA said that according to SAFAR Delhi could be in severe category tomorrow for some period. However, the uncertainty over the wind direction meant that the situation could either improve or further worsen on 25 Oct

Press Trust of India October 24, 2020 01:01:17 IST
EPCA says Delhi's air quality may deteriorate to 'severe' on Saturday; urges residents to avoid going out

Representational image. PTI

Delhi's air quality could deteriorate to 'severe' category on Saturday, the EPCA said on Friday, cautioning that one should go out only when absolutely necessary and wear mask at all times.

As Delhi's air quality worsened on Friday with several areas in the national capital recording 'severe' levels of pollution, Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, the Supreme Court-appointed pollution monitoring authority, in its statement, said it was watching the situation closely.

Referring to the Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) forecast, it said, "SAFAR has informed us that we could be in severe category tomorrow for some period. What is not certain is if the wind direction will change on 25 October for the better or worse.

"So we are watching the situation carefully. For the moment our recommendation is that we must ensure enforcement on ground to check all polluting sources. We are also reiterating the advice given to be safe from COVID-19 that we should only go out when absolutely necessary and at all times wear masks," the EPCA said.

According to SAFAR, air quality will deteriorate further in the coming two days.

The air quality index (AQI) on Friday was recorded at 374 in the morning and 366 by evening as compared to 302 on the previous day.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.

Ten monitoring stations in Delhi entered the 'severe' zone, according to the AQI monitoring mobile application SAMEER, developed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

These include Alipur with AQI of 447, Shadipur with 441, Mundka with AQI of 419, Wazirpur with 432, Anand Vihar with 405, Bawana with 413, Vivek Vihar with 422, Rohini- 401, Jahangirpuri with AQI of 418 and Patparganj with 405.

According to SAFAR, extremely calm surface wind conditions prevail over the Delhi region and are forecast to continue for two days.

"This will lead to low ventilation conditions for an extended period and accumulation of pollutants near the surface. Further deterioration of AQI is expected for the two days," it said.

"It is forecasted that the air quality will be in the higher end of 'very poor' on October 24 and 25 and may touch the 'severe' category," SAFAR said.

It said a significant increase in stubble fire count was observed around Haryana, Punjab, and neighbouring regions which stood at 1,213 on Thursday.

"However, as the boundary layer wind direction is not fully favourable for pollutant transport towards the Delhi region, the SAFAR model estimate of stubble burning share in PM 2.5 is 17 per cent for today," it said.

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