City breathes cleanest air this year as rain washes out pollutants, dust

Gurugram: 8 July, 2019 (Hindustan Times)

FAVOURABLE AQI City has recorded just one ‘poor’ air quality day this month

› With more showers expected this week, air quality is set to remain favourable for at least another three days. SENIOR SCIENTIST, CPCB

GURUGRAM: With the onset of the monsoon, air quality in the city has entered its most favourable phase this year, with just one day of ‘poor’ air quality since July 1. On Sunday, Gurugram recorded a value of 71 (‘satisfactory’) on the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) air quality index (AQI) bulletin, up from 55 the previous day. The level of PM2.5, the city’s prominent pollutant, was at an average of 63ug/m3, which is slightly above the prescribed safe limit of 60ug/m3.

On Friday, for the first time this year, the city recorded an AQI value of 48, in the ‘good’ category — the lowest that pollution levels have been all year, with PM2.5 levels plunging to 20ug/m3. Such improvements are typical during the monsoon, when spells of rain cause particulate matter pollutants to precipitate to the ground, experts said.

“With more showers expected this week, air quality is set to remain favourable for at least another three days,” said a senior scientist at the CPCB’S air quality lab in Delhi. As per the Central Control Room for Air Quality Management in Delhi-ncr, Gurugram’s AQI daily score will not exceed more than 87 till Wednesday. An AQI range of 51-100 is considered satisfactory by the CPCB.

“Suspended particulate matter has been washed out of the air thanks to precipitation, resulting in clearer skies and better visibility. Humidity levels are also up, making dust particles heavier, so they sink to the ground,” said Kuldeep Singh, regional officer, Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB).

On Sunday morning, relative humidity stood at 70%, and dipped only slightly to touch 66% percent in the evening.

Temperatures are also expected to decline further this week as a result of the rains, from 35.5 degrees Celsius on Sunday — down slightly from 36 degrees Celsius the previous day — to 32 degrees Celsius on Saturday, with “generally cloudy sky with possibility of rain or thunderstorm” on each day, except July 10 and July 11, according to the India Meteorological Department’s seven-day weather forecast for Gurugram.