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After the air quality in the national capital witnessed a downward plummet on Republic Day (January 26), the next two days (January 27 and 28) offered some respite.
Delhi, along with adjoining Noida and Gurugram breathed clean air for two days after almost three months of choking pollutants and smog. However, Delhi's air pollution seems to have worsened due to a surge in harmful pollutants on Monday, especially particulate matters (PM).
According to experts the rainfall that took place between January 25 to 27 was the reason behind the two-day breather. The air quality on Monday became "poor" and "very poor" at different stations, according to the data from the Centre's air quality research agency SAFAR and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The Air Quality Index (AQI) for Delhi on Monday had an index value of 294 units which is labelled "poor", against "moderate" on Saturday and Friday. Index value beyond 300 is "very poor". The air quality on Sunday was however also poor, though less intense.
"We must stop relying on the meteorological influences, like wind speed or the rains. There are lots of things which need to be done, like applying graded system as soon as possible and stopping bio-mass burning in Delhi's neighbouring regions," said Sunit Sharma, a research fellow with TERI.
Sharma quoted an IIT-Kanpur study saying that almost 25 per cent of Delhi's PM2.5 (particles in air with diameter less than 2.5 mm) are caused by bio-mass burning. The major cause of the drop in air quality on Monday was PM2.5, which rose to alarming levels in some areas including Dhirpur and Pitampura, according to the data obtained from SAFAR.
According to weather forecasters, Delhi may see rain again on February 5 and 6. "It may rain on February 5 and 6, which would help in bringing down the pollutants in the air," said Mahesh Palawat, Director of private weather forecaster Skymet.
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