NEW DELHI: A thick blanket of smog returned to the national capital and its suburbs on Monday as the air quality inched closer to emergency levels with the raging farm fires, decreased temperature and low wind speed.
The air quality has deteriorated essentially on the days the ‘Odd-Even’ scheme was suspended by the Delhi government on the occasion of the Sikh festival Guru Purab on November 11 and 12.
Experts said that while the external factors were a reason for the dipping air quality, it was due to the break from ‘Odd-Even’ for two consecutive days that increased the traffic to more than normal that left the people in Delhi gasping.
“The ‘Odd-Even’ break has come on festive days adding to the traffic. The mobility from Delhi-Gurugram showed traffic increase compared to the ‘Odd-Even’ days,” professor of transport planning at SPA Dr. Seva Ram said.
According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi was 467 while the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded maximum stations including ones in outer, central and south Delhi over and above 400 level of AQI.
The AQI is likely to deteriorate to the Severe plus category by Wednesday. “The effective stubble fire counts estimated by SAFAR-integrated multi-satellite methodology have shown decreasing trend and are 740 on November 11, but the transport level wind direction is forecasted to be highly favorable for plume intrusion for the next two days.
In view of this, the share of biomass in Delhi’s air quality is simulated to be 22% for 13th November even if the present declined fire trend is assumed,” the SAFAR said.