NEWS
25/10/2018 1:19 PM IST | Updated 25/10/2018 1:19 PM IST

Delhi Pollution: As Air Quality Remains In The "Very Poor" Category, Are Weather Conditions To Blame?

Activists, however, say that the government is not doing enough to improve the air pollution in the city.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
A girl covers her face with a mask to protect herself from the pollution at Laxmi Nagar on October 23, 2018 in New Delhi, India.

Delhi's air quality continued to remain in the "very poor" category on Thursday with the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research's air quality index indicating at 11:00 am that it was at 339.

The air quality was worse than on Wednesday morning at 11:00 am, which was at 312.

Almost two weeks ago, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had announced that a emergency action plan would be implemented to control air pollution in the city. But experts say while stubble burning may have started this, weather conditions were also unfavourable.

"Wind speed has dropped to less than 5km per hour. To aggravate conditions, they are coming from the east and south bringing in moisture. The sky has become partly cloudy. Because of all these factors, the dust is getting accumulated in the city's air and pollution is rising," Hindustan Times quoted a senior Delhi Pollution Control Committee official as saying.

Air quality in Delhi has consistently deteriorated in this week. While on Sunday it was in the "poor" category, it has been in the "very poor" category since Monday.

The Hindustan Times report also quoted former head of CPCB's air quality labaratory as saying that frequent change in wind directions, drop in wind speed and dip in temperature were to be blamed for the poor air quality and that the situation would improve once northwesterly winds picked up speed.

While the increase of ultra-fine particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5 is a known cause of respiratory irritations, the fire burning in Delhi's Bhalswa landfill has only added to the mess.

Anumita Roychowdhury of Centre for Science and Enviroment had told PTI on Monday that the toxic fumes emanating out of the landfill fires was likely to affect the air quality.

"If the wind speed is lower and the temperature dips, the polluted air coming out of the landfill fires will get trapped, which would severely affect the air quality," she had said.

Activists say the government is not doing as much as it should be.

Vimlendu Jha, an environmentalist told The Times of India, "The government has no political will and year after year we get into the narrative around pollution only in the month of October when the situation is really, really bad."

Jha pointed out that while the air quality gets to hazardous conditions during these months, its always in the "poor" through the year.