Improvement in air quality due to agencies efforts: Harsh Vardhan

Delhi’s air quality is gradually improving compared to what it was in the first half of 2016, Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan said in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

The minister said that according to the city’s Air Quality Index data for 2017, the national capital didn’t experience a single day with severe level of air pollution this year. However between January and June in 2016 Delhi witnessed nine days with severely poor air quality.

“There is a declining trend in the levels of particulate matter at present, indicating an improvement in air quality due to the efforts made by implementing agencies,” he said.

Pollution levels had skyrocketed by the hour in Delhi yesterday, turning the air quality hazardous, which agencies consider unfit for inhalation even by healthier people.

“There has been a decline in PM10 values, from 712.1 to 566.6 micrograms and decline in PM2.5 levels from 480 to 385.7 micrograms at 2 pm today”, the minister said.

Air quality in the national capital remained “hazardous” in many areas on Friday.

Strong-anti cyclonic winds, blowing from Rajasthan, are the reason behind the worsening air quality.

According to AQICN, on Friday morning, PM10 (particles with the diameter less than 10mm) level was over 700 in most of the Delhi-NCR areas, leading to hazy conditions and limiting visibility.

The AQI of R.K. Puram and Anand Vihar read 948 and 999 respectively.

Other places like Mandir Marg (687), Dwarka (331), DITE Okhla (686), Punjabi Bagh (842) and ITO (457) also remained in the ‘hazardous’ level.

Taking cognizance of the plummeting air quality levels, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijalon Thursday ordered to stop all civil construction activities across the national capital from June 15 to 17 to bring down the severe dust pollution.