Delhi reported its best air quality on Friday in over two months with agencies predicting that rain and strong winds may yield the first “good” air day of the year on Saturday.
The city’s 24-hour air quality index (AQI) read 182, the best since October 26 when it stood at 139. It was 258 on Thursday.
An AQI between zero 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”.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality monitor, SAFAR, said the AQI improved to the “moderate” category due to rain.
More rain and stronger winds on Saturday will further improve the air quality to the ‘satisfactory’ category or the ‘good’ category.
However, a dip in temperature and wind speed thereafter will allow accumulation of pollutants, it said.
An extended monsoon season and record-breaking rainfall gave Delhi its best air quality in October in four years, but the air pollution in November was the worst in the month since 2015.
December recorded the longest streak of six “severe” air quality days since 2015.
Meanwhile, cloudy weather pushed the national capital’s minimum temperature up to 13.5 degrees Celsius, six notches above normal, on Friday.
The maximum temperature settled at 20.3 degrees Celsius.
Moderate rain is likely in the capital on Saturday, the India Meteorological Department said.
The Safdarjung Observatory, considered the official marker for the city, had recorded 7.3 mm of rainfall on Wednesday under the influence of a western disturbance.
A fresh WD will lead to light to moderate rainfall over Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, north Rajasthan and west Uttar Pradesh over the next two days, the IMD said.
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