Delhiites on Saturday woke up to a misty morning with cold winds keeping the minimum temperature at 7.1 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature is expected to be around 22 degrees Celsius. The air quality was also recorded 'very poor'. The major pollutants PM 2.5 were recorded at 433 and PM 10 at 395 (very poor category) in the Wazirpur area. In the Rohini area, the Air Quality Index (AQI) PM 2.5 was at 435 and PM 10 at 348. At the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium area, PM 2.5 was at 363 and PM 10 at 373. AQI at Punjabi Bagh Delhi was recorded 'very poor', PM 2.5 was at 420 while the PM 10 was at 371. Delhi's air quality has been oscillating between 'very poor' and 'severe' categories for the past ten days.
According to the forecast of the department, the day will turn from partly cloudy to generally cloudy by the evening and there is a possibility of "very light" rain by the night.
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On Friday, the overall air quality index (AQI) in the city was 402, which falls in the 'severe' category, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data. The overall PM2.5 level - fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres - in Delhi was recorded at 278, while the PM10 level was at 430, the authority had said.
The Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) said the air quality may improve in the next two days under the influence of light rains which is expected thereafter.
"The overall air quality will deteriorate further, with small fluctuations in the next three days if it does not rain. Other meteorological conditions are not favourable although foggy conditions are likely to reduce now," the SAFAR had said.
An AQI between 100 to 200 comes under ‘moderate’ category, 201 and 300 is considered ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’ while between 401 and 500 ‘severe’. The overall PM2.5 (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometre) level was recorded at 143 and the PM10 (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometre) level at 253, according to SAFAR.
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Delhi is reeling under the menace of air pollution for the past couple of years. The region faced a major air quality crisis last year when severe pollution level forced the shutdown of schools and colleges. In 2016, the government tried to explore the possibility of cloud seeding for artificial rain but the plan never worked out.