Delhi deploys 114 tankers to sprinkle water to settle dust; higher wind speed flushes out pollution

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The air quality in the national capital improved slightly on Saturday due to higher wind speeds, which are expected to clear out pollutants in the air over the next two days, weather experts said.  

The Delhi government has also deployed 114 water tankers to sprinkle water on roads to settle dust, one of major contributors to air pollution.

After the rampant cracker bursting on Diwali despite restrictions in place, air quality deteriorated in many parts of north and central India, including the national capital where it was the poorest in five years post the festival with a rise in stubble burning in neighbouring states compounding the pollution woes.

Environment Minister Gopal Rai flagged off the water tankers on the day, terming it an "emergency measure" to help people.

"Last month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had launched an action plan that is being implemented across the city. Along with the people of Delhi, we are running the campaign to check the local source of air pollution in the city — be it dust, vehicle or biomass pollution," Rai told reporters. He added that on Diwali, instances of crop residue burning in Punjab and Haryana along with bursting of firecrackers in the city added to air pollution.

Earlier on Friday, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee also shut down 92 construction and demolition projects across the city for flouting dust control norms.

"Even today, incidents of stubble burning are increasing. Yesterday, about 3,500 incidents were recorded and today, it is more than 4,000. All this is impacting Delhi's air. As an emergency measure and to help people, we are sprinkling water from the tankers. We have even installed smog guns," the Aam Aadmi Party leader said.

According to Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) Sameer app, the city's air quality index (AQI) stood at 449 in the severe category at 8 am on Saturday. It was 462 on Friday. 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 weather office has predicted strong surface winds that will help clear out pollutants in the city's air on Saturday.

Experts said the air quality degraded to severe in Delhi-NCR due to unfavourable weather conditions — calm winds, low temperature and low mixing height and a poisonous cocktail of emissions from firecrackers, stubble burning and local sources.

Delhi witnessed a cold morning on Saturday as the minimum temperature in the city was recorded at 14.7 degrees Celsius, normal for this time of the season. The city will witness a partly cloudy sky with shallow to moderate fog in the morning and strong surface winds during the day, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Saturday.
The maximum temperature is likely to hover around 28 degrees Celsius, it said. Humidity at 8.30 am was 78 percent, the IMD said.

With input from agencies

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Delhi deploys 114 tankers to sprinkle water to settle dust; higher wind speed flushes out pollution
Delhi deploys 114 tankers to sprinkle water to settle dust; higher wind speed flushes out pollution
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