Air quality remains ‘very poor’; Govt. lifts ban on construction

585 teams to monitor all construction and demolition sites in the city, says Minister

The city’s air quality continued to be in the “very poor” category on Monday and is likely to improve on Tuesday, according to the authorities.

The Delhi Government has lifted the ban on construction and demolition activities keeping these trends and improvements in mind, Environment Minister Gopal Rai said. “After seeing the labourers and daily-wage workers suffer due to the ban, a decision to lift it has been taken,” he said.

A total of 585 teams have been set up to monitor all construction and demolition sites throughout the city and action will be taken against violators, Mr. Rai said.

The Minister said that the Delhi Government’s “stringent and comprehensive measures” helped “significantly” reduce the pollution level that had been rising since Deepavali.

Last week, the Minister had said that 70% of Delhi’s pollutants were coming from outside the city and “people of Delhi have been blamed unnecessarily” for the high pollution.

Better air

Local surface wind speed was relatively high on Monday and it helped disperse the pollutants and it is expected to remain high on Tuesday too.

“The AQI today indicates the ‘lower end of very poor’ category, a significant improvement from yesterday due to low fire count and strong winds at transport level blowing from the north-west direction dispersing pollutants. These winds are likely to continue tomorrow also leading to further improvement in air quality to the ‘poor’ category (if no increase in fire count),” government-run monitoring agency SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research) said in a statement.

From Wednesday, local as well as transport level wind speed is likely to slow down, resulting in slight deterioration of air quality, but it is expected to be within the ‘lower end of very poor’ category.

On Monday, the contribution of stubble burning in neighbouring States to PM2.5 (a chief pollutant) in Delhi was low and the effective fire counts in the region was 909, as per SAFAR.

The air quality index (AQI) was 311 on Monday, down from 349 on Sunday, as per the Central Pollution Control Board’s 4 p.m. bulletin, which is the average of the past 24 hours.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.

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