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Air pollution in Delhi remains high depsite action

From October to January, Delhi recorded 19 days of ‘severe’ air quality, according to the Air Quality Index (AQI).

Following a period of high air pollution, in late 2021 the government introduced various measures to reduce air pollution and even shut schools in a bid to reduce exposure. 

However, despite this, the air pollution picture this winter is the same as the previous two years when 19 days of ‘severe’ air quality were also recorded. 

January and October recorded better air quality this year when compared to previous years, but in November, when Diwali was celebrated and when the contribution of stubble burning to particulate matter (PM2.5) increased, the capital recorded worse air this year than previous years.

yellow bus on road during daytime

Over the past three days, the AQI has remained in the ‘moderate’ category, according to experts this is aided by strong winds.

Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director for Research and Advocacy at the Centre for Science and Environment told Indian Express: ‘October was about prolonged rain, while January was also about record rainfall. In terms of overall winter pollution, we would see cleaner air days this winter, if we account for January and October. These are two key months; October is when winter begins and January is usually the thick of winter.

‘But at the same time, we recorded one of the most prolonged smog episodes this year in November, with continuous ‘severe’ air days. Towards the end of December, even when there was no stubble burning, Delhi experienced ‘severe’ pollution days. That shows the impact of local pollution in Delhi and NCR. The fact that so much pollution trapping could happen in November and December is indicative of high pollution in the region.’

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