Smog to lift over Delhi by Friday, say experts

Smog to lift over Delhi by Friday, say experts
Some respite seems to be coming to Delhiites suffering from breathing problem as the smog enveloping the city past few days is likely to lift by Friday, scientists said on Tuesday.

According to scientists at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, the smog has settled over the national capital due to the drastic increase in fine particulate pollution level suspended over Delhi skies.

The data obtained by the SAFAR (System of Air quality Forecasting and Research) -- India's first air quality prediction system consisting of eight automatic air quality monitoring stations - projected that smog will continue to remain over Delhi for the next two days and will lift by November 9.

Scientists attributed the smog to peculiar meteorological conditions supported by long-range transport of pollution from neighbouring states like Punjab. They ruled out any role of Cyclone Nilam in it.

"The data revealed that the most toxic pollutant PM2.5 (fine particulate matters of size less than 2.5 micrometres) level started to increase from around 100 ug/m3 on Oct 26, which was already in the moderate range, and reached to a critical level of 400 ug/m3 on Nov 5," Sunil Peshin, in-charge of SAFAR, told IANS.

This is the second time in this year that Delhi is under pollution threat and Diwali is yet to arrive. The last time dust storm hit Delhi was in March.

"This increasing trend will continue for at least two more days and will touch a level of 450 ug/m3 and then likely to descent from Nov 9 to reach very poor category from critical level," SAFAR programme Director Gufran Beig from IITM, Pune, told IANS.

According to scientists, the reason for drastic increase in particulate pollution level is purely the peculiar meteorological conditions supported by long-range transport of pollution from neighbouring states.

"This pollution episode has nothing to do with local emission which is always blamed. The westerly disturbances until about October 22 have inducted lot of moisture into Delhi's atmosphere which resulted in bringing down temperature and drastic increase in humidity from Oct 25 onwards," said Mr Beig.

The clouds of pollutants emerging from seasonal crop residue burning from neighbouring Punjab and Haryana regions was another for the smog.