After light rainfall on Wednesday night, the air quality in the national capital slightly improved in Thursday, bringing down the pollution level to 'very poor' category from 'hazardous'.
According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of New Delhi recorded at 342 at around 9:09 AM as compared to 419 on the previous day.
The Air Quality around Lodhi Road recorded PM 10 levels at 200 and PM 2.5 levels at 336. PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels around the Delhi University are slightly higher with 259 and 345 respectively.
"Air quality has improved significantly mainly due to sufficient rainfall last night to wash away bigger particles and created space for faster dispersion without a decline in temperature," SAFAR said in a statement.
"AQI is back to 'very poor.' It may recover further today. A slight increase in AQI is predicted next three days but is likely to remain in very poor," the statement added.
After fighting thick fog for days, the residents of national capital are taking a sigh of relief following the rain. "The weather is quite pleasant. There is no smog. The air is somewhat breathable," said a jogger.
Taking the cognizance of Delhi's worsening pollution level, the chairman of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) Bhure Lal has asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to discuss the matter of restricting private vehicles during severe and prolonged pollution episode with Graded Response Action Plan task force.
While suggesting corrective measures to Central Pollution Control Board, Mr Lal wrote, "In this situation, the only option is to look at either a complete ban on all private vehicles (without the identification of petrol or diesel), other than CNG and/or restriction on plying by number plate (odd-even).
He added that odd-even scheme, practiced in other cities, is done for extended hours and includes all private vehicles.
Recently, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) also formed a committee, headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice SP Garg to check the causes of air pollution in Delhi.
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