City breathes easy as wind blows away haze

  • | Sunday | 19th November, 2023

Noida:The air quality in the three NCR cities improved to the poor category on Saturday, after remaining in the very poor category (300-400) for five consecutive days after Diwali. On Saturday, Noidas air quality saw significant improvement with an AQI of 265 in the poor category, as against 334 a day earlier, as wind speed picked up in the morning.According to weather experts, there was also a change in wind direction from northwesterly to northeasterly during noon, which reduced the contribution of stubble burning.In Greater Noida, which recorded eight straight severe air pollution days this month, the air quality index (AQI) dropped 100 points since Fridays 348. On Saturday, its AQI was 228 — the best among the three NCR cities — while Ghaziabads was 276.The air quality in Delhi, which saw three consecutive severe air days — logging a total of nine this month — also improved to 319 in the very poor category on Saturday as against 405 a day earlier. It was 419 on November 16, and 401 on the day preceding it.Neighbouring Gurgaon (322) and Faridabad (309) also recorded very poor AQI.Following light rainfall on November 10, two days before Diwali, AQI had improved significantly in the region, from the severe to moderate category. On November 11, Noidas AQI was recorded at 156, Greater Noida 130 and Ghaziabad 160, while on Diwali (November 12), the air quality was 189, 165 and 186 in three cities, respectively.But the rain advantage was squandered away as the curbs on bursting firecrackers were grossly flouted. As the after-effect of the light rain wore off post-Diwali, the CPCB data showed AQI in the three cities had slipped back to the very poor category — Noida at 363, Greater Noida 342 and Ghaziabad 329 — on November 13. Earlier this month, the air quality in the region had slipped to severe and severe-plus (above 450) levels, especially in Greater Noida. Subsequently, the CAQM imposed restrictions under stage 4 of GRAP on November 5 — curbs under stages 1, 2 and 3 were invoked on October 6, October 21 and November 2, respectively.On Saturday, a notice issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in the National Capital Region stated that Delhis AQI was 319, which is about 128 points below the threshold — AQI above the severe-plus category — for invoking the Graded Response Action Plan stage 4 measures. There is also a likelihood of sustaining the improvement in air quality. The air quality forecasts by the India Meteorological Department/Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology do not indicate any steep degradation in the overall air quality of Delhi-NCR in the coming days, the CAQM said while lifting the GRAP stage 4 measures on Saturday.UPPCB regional officer (Noida) Utsav Sharma told TOI the air quality has significantly improved in Noida. This is due to changes in weather conditions and wind speed. On Saturday, we received information that CAQM has revoked restrictions under GRAP stage 4. However, we will ensure compliance of the measures under Stage 1 to 3, he said.After the air quality plummeted in the city, the Noida Authority engaged 90 tankers to sprinkle water on a 250km stretch of roads, 70 anti-smog guns and 12 mechanical sweeping machines to cover 350km of roads in the city.The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), meanwhile, said wind on Saturday morning blew from the northeast at a speed up to 4 kmph but was likely to slow down post-sundown. On Sunday, the wind direction was likely to change further and blow from the southeast direction. Air quality, it said, could slip into the very poor category. Wind speed is likely to pick up from November 21 and speed may reach 15 kmph.

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