Air remains in ‘poor’ zone for second day in a row, worst in NCR

Air quality in the city remained in the ‘poor’ category for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, with a reading of 204 on the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) air quality index (AQI) bulletin. However, the reading is an improvement from the previous day’s AQI of 246, which was also in the same category.

Gurugram was also the most polluted city in the National Capital Region (NCR) on Tuesday, with the AQI in neighbouring Delhi, Noida, and Ghaziabad staying in the ‘moderate’ category of the AQI. The level of ultrafine particulate matter having a diameter of 2.5 microns or less (PM 2.5), the city’s primary pollutant, was 167 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m³) on Monday, as per the CPCB’s air quality monitor at Vikas Sadan in Sector 11.

Gurugram on Tuesday was also among the 10 cities in India, of the 125 cities where the CPCB regularly monitors air quality, to recorded ‘poor’ level of air quality.

Experts said that Gurugram’s higher AQI was the result of prevailing wind patterns. “On Tuesday, we saw mainly winds blowing from the west and the northwest at a good pace of about 12kmph, which would have brought pollutants from Delhi and beyond towards Haryana. However, the speed was fast enough to disperse some pollutants as well, which is why there was an improvement in AQI between Monday and Tuesday,” said Sachin Panwar, a city-based air quality scientist.

According to the early air quality warning system for Delhi-NCR, the air quality is expected to deteriorate marginally and remain in the ‘moderate’ to ‘poor’ category on Wednesday.

Experts, however, said that pollution levels are likely to plummet before the week ends. “Cold winds blowing toward NCR from the north will bring down nighttime temperatures by two to three degrees and allow pollutants to accumulate. Gurugram should definitely anticipate another spell of ‘very poor’ air in a few days,” Panwar said.

The forecasted AQI reading for Wednesday, as per the CPCB’s central control room for air quality management in Delhi, is 233 (also in the ‘poor’ category).

On Tuesday, the city recorded a maximum temperature of 24.6 degrees Celsius and a minimum temperature of 14.2 degrees Celsius, according to the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) Palam observatory in Delhi. The IMD’s automatic weather station (AWS) did not record the city’s maximum temperature on Tuesday.

As per the weekly IMD forecast, fog and mist will prevail in the morning hours on Wednesday followed by clear skies later in the day.

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