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No let-up in pollution, Delhi sees second highest Nov AQI in 6 years | Delhi News

Delhi has seen no improvement in terms of pollution levels this November, compared to the month in previous years, with local emissions, stubble burning and low temperatures coming together to keep the air severely polluted.

The average AQI this November was 372, the second highest for the month from 2017 onwards, after an average of 377 recorded in 2021. This is higher than the average of 320 recorded last year, 327 in 2020, and 312 in 2019. Both 2018 and 2017 also saw relatively cleaner air in November, going by average AQI figures.

This November, there were 10 days when Delhi recorded a 24-hour average AQI in the ‘severe’ category (401 to 500). This included November 2, when an average AQI of 392 was recorded at 4 pm according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) bulletin, but the air quality deteriorated to the ‘severe’ category by 5 pm, leading the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) to invoke measures under the ‘severe’ category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). A higher number, of 11 ‘severe’ air days, was seen in November 2021, while lower numbers were recorded from 2018 to 2020, and in 2022.

‘High pollution level despite dip in farm fires’

Delhi has seen high pollution levels this November despite the total number of farm fires seeing a decline in both Punjab and Haryana with the neighbouring states recording the lowest figure for the season 2020 onwards.

This farm fire season, which is considered to have ended on November 30, Punjab recorded 36,663 fires, against 49,922 last year, and 71,304 in 2021. A much higher figure of 83,002 was recorded in 2020.

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Similarly, Haryana has recorded 2,303 fires this year, down from 3,661 last year.

A communication issued by the CAQM Thursday said the “significant reduction” in the number of farm fires did not “reflect as much in the daily average AQI of Delhi/NCR during November, primarily owing to highly unfavourable meteorology and climate conditions prevailing over the region particularly since the last week of October, with low speed winds from the northwesterly direction, very low rainfall and near-calm wind conditions over Delhi which badly impeded the dispersion of pollutants, thus reflecting in a much higher AQI during the month of November 2023 as compared to the November months in preceding years.”

On Thursday, Delhi’s AQI, which was 398, in the upper end of the ‘very poor’ category at 4 pm, deteriorated to 402, in the ‘severe’ category, by 9 pm.

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