Friday, Feb 24, 2017 | Last Update : 03:49 PM IST

Air quality ‘severe’ as dense fog engulfs Delhi

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Dec 2, 2016, 2:30 am IST
Updated : Dec 2, 2016, 6:36 am IST

Around 70 north-bound trains, including Rajdhani services, were delayed, while around 30 others were rescheduled due to fog.

Dense fog engulfs Connaught Place in New Delhi on Thursday. (Photo: G.N. Jha)
 Dense fog engulfs Connaught Place in New Delhi on Thursday. (Photo: G.N. Jha)

New Delhi: For the second consecutive day, road, rail, and air traffic was disrupted in the national capital due to dense fog. Flight operations at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport were affected with four domestic flights being diverted to other airport amid low runway visibility due to dense fog. Around 253 flights were diverted or delayed on Thursday at IGI.

Also, around 70 north-bound trains, including Rajdhani services, were delayed, while around 30 others were rescheduled due to fog. Rajdhani trains from Kolkata, Sealdah, Bhubaneswar, and Patna are among the trains that were three to five hours late, a Northern Railway official said. The departure time of around 30 trains were rescheduled due to bad weather conditions, he said.

The New Delhi-Darbha-nga Bihar Sampark Kranti Express, New Delhi-Gaya Mahabodhi Express, New Delhi-Jabalpur Superfast Express, New Delhi-Hyde-rabad Deccan Telangana Express, and New Delhi-Howrah Poorva Express are among the trains that were rescheduled.

Meanwhile, according to the Safdarjung Observatory, visibility was recorded at 50 metres at 5.30 am which increased to a mere 150 metres at 8.30 am. “It subsequently improved to 800 metres at 11.30 am and to 1,000 metres at 2.30 pm. The Palam weather office recorded visibility at zero metre at 8.30 am,” the official said.

The maximum temperature was recorded at 25.8°C, normal for this time of the year, while the minimum settled at 11.9°C, two notches above the season’s average, said a MeT department official.

The humidity level in air oscillated between 98 and 68 per cent. The MeT department has predicted mainly clear skies for Friday, along with the possibility of shallow to moderate fog at some places and dense to very dense fog at isolated places. “The maximum and minimum temperatures are expected to hover at 25 and 11°C respectively,” the weatherman said.

On Wednesday, 18 flights and 50 north-bound trains were delayed as heavy fog engulfed the city for the first time this season. Meanwhile, high pollution levels persisted in Delhi on Thursday as a thick blanket of fog enveloped the city and respirable particles, trapped by moisture, hung low in the absence of strong wind movement.

The Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) air quality index (24-hour average) was in the “severe” category with a reading of 403, which may affect healthy people and seriously impact those with existing respiratory ailments.

Five out of the nine monitoring centres of CPCB — DTU, Punjabi Bagh, Anand Vihar, Mandir Marg, and Shadipur — recorded air quality as severe. The Palam weather office recorded visibility at zero metre at 8.30 am. At Safdarjung observatory, it was marginally better at 150 metre. The 24-hour-average (rolling) of PM 2.5 and PM 10, ultra-fine particulates, were 188 and 350 micrograms per cubic metre, respectively, violating the prescribed standards of 60 and 100 respectively by multiple times.

“PM 2.5 levels are 3-5 times higher than the prescribed standards. Levels are going up with meteorological adversity in the absence of stringent emission control measures,” a  Teri official said.

Tags: indira gandhi international airport, central pollution control board, delhi air quality
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi