“Air pollution in India’s capital surged this week, with a haze reducing visibility to 50 meters at times and prompting calls for government action.
New Delhi on Thursday recorded its second-worst day in nearly 10 years, with the low visibility mostly due to smoke and dust, said the country’s meteorological department.
The level of PM2.5, tiny particles suspended in the air that can lodge in lungs and cause disease, hit a new peak after the country celebrated Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights last week.
The festival, which took place Sunday, is celebrated with a riot of fireworks and firecrackers across the country.
“We saw an increase in pollutants this year because of very low wind speed,” said Dr. Dipankar Saha, scientist and in-charge of the air laboratory at the Central Pollution Control Board.
Mean wind speed dropped to 1.8 meters per second last week compared with 3.4 meter per second around the same time last year, reducing the amount of pollutants that were dispersed.
The problem was also aggravated by a reversal in normal direction of wind, said R. Vishen, in-charge of the regional weather forecasting center of India Meteorological Department, New Delhi. “Normally, the wind direction in Delhi is north westerly (west to east). But from October 28 till date, the north north easterly (east to west) component was prevailing, preventing pollutants from dispersing and allowing them to accumulate in the air,” he said…” The Wall Street Journal. Read the full article on delhiair.org.