After a constant degradation of air quality in the national capital, Delhi is likely to witness a change in the air quality for the better. Dr Vijay Kumar Soni, India Meteorological Department's (IMD) Head of Environment and Research Centre, has stated that situation of air pollution in Delhi-NCR is likely to improve from Sunday, as strong winds observed in the afternoon increased chances of rainfall in the evening and it will hopefully give some respite to the burning air.
"Delhi's AQI is currently in the 'Severe' category. More than 500 AQI levels were touched on the night of Diwali, but now due to the Western Disturbance's influence and strong wind, it is expected that there will be a significant improvement in the air index. The AQI will slowly reverse," Dr VK Soni told ANI.
"Overall, it can be said that due to the improvement in the AQI level, people will get some relief from air pollution because if it rains today due to the strong winds, the air quality will be a lot better," Dr Soni added.
Meanwhile, air pollution in the national capital continues to persist with the AQI in 'severe' and 'very poor quality' at several places on Sunday morning and the city remained engulfed in a blanket of smog. The AQI dipped to 'severe' on Saturday night itself at many places in the owing to continued stubble burning coupled with incidents of cracker bursting by Delhi residents despite a ban on the same.
On Saturday, Dr Ravi Malik, a former secretary of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) told ANI that air pollution should not be taken lightly by the people as it may lead to an increase in COVID-19 fatalities.
"For some reason, we are taking air pollution lightly. Air pollution will attack the lungs and COVID-19 will also attack the lungs. And because of that, COVID-19 related deaths can also increase. In a bid to manage the situation we must do our bit and the government must do its role."
In the backdrop of the rise in COVID-19 infections in Delhi, coupled with the surge in air pollution, Kejriwal had urged the Delhi citizens to refrain from bursting crackers this Diwali and join him virtually in the celebration. The Delhi government had also imposed a ban on the sale and use of firecrackers due to surge in COVID-19 infection and air pollution.
Resonating with the Delhi Government's call, even the National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed a total ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in Delhi from midnight of November 9 to midnight of November 30. Apart from that, several studies showed that increased air pollution, especially during winters, can aid the virus to survive for longer duration which would lead to more people getting affected by the virus. Besides Delhi, West Bengal, Odisha, Rajasthan and Sikkim have also decided to ban firecrackers due to coronavirus.
(with inputs from ANI)