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Pollution level dips in Delhi, but still many times over safe levels

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) After around two weeks of severe air quality across the national capital, pollution levels came down on Thursday although still remaining three to four times above the prescribed limits, said official agencies/

Pollution measuring stations at Pitampura, Dhirpur, Pusa, and Airport Terminal 3 showed levels of PM (particulate matter) 2.5 and PM 10 below 400 for the first time this month.

According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting & Research (SAFAR), the pollution level at these stations came down to “very poor” level from “severe”.

At Lodhi Road in south Delhi, level of PM 10 came even below 300 and was recorded at 288 micrograms per cubic metre in the evening, categorised as “poor”. Level of PM 2.5 at Lodhi Road was 339 categorised as “very poor”.

However, at Delhi University station in north Delhi, air quality continued to be severe with level of both pollutants breaching the 400 mark.

According to the US Embassy’s air pollution monitor, which covers the area of Chanakyapuri or the diplomatic enclave in New Delhi, the Air Quality Index (AQI) was 238 at 7 p.m. was categorised as “very unhealthy”. Throughout the first week of November, the monitor showed AQI exceeding 400, even beyond the “hazardous” level.

However, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the AQI for Delhi remained “severe” with the index value 411, however slightly improved from Wednesday’s 424.

The weather experts have predicted hazy days from Friday.

Mahesh Palawat, Director of private weather forecaster Skymet, said that a short spell of hazy days would return on Friday due to western disturbance.

“The current dry north-westerly winds will be replaced by the easterly and south-easterly winds. This will increase humidity in the region that will bring haziness in the atmosphere and give rise to pollution,” he said.

He, however, said that this situation will last only for a couple of days.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) fellow Sumit Sharma said that while pollution levels have gone down compared to first week of November, but PM 2.5 levels are still three to four times above the prescribed limits.

“Emission cuts are required rather than dependency on favourable meteorology for achieving breathable air quality levels,” he said.

The prescribed limits for PM 2.5 and PM 10 are 60 and 100 micrograms per cubic metre respectively.

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