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Delhi air pollution again reaches 'severe' levels


New Delhi: People seen wearing pollution masks while they commute to their work places in New Delhi on Wednesday.Air quality had hit severe levels in New Delhi. PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist(PTI11_8_2017_000012B)

New Delhi, January 12 (IANS) Owing to a rise in humidity and light winds, the overall air quality of the national capital slipped to the 'severe' zone on Saturday, despite the authorities predicting it would remain in the 'very poor' category.

"Calm winds along with
a spike in humidity levels because of an induced Cyclonic Circulation
over Northern Plains are the major contributors for a hike in pollution
levels in Delhi and adjoining areas," Mahesh Palawat, Director at
private weather forecasting agency Skymet told IANS.

He said that
the pollution levels might increase in the coming days as humidity
levels are expected to go up due to rains in Punjab, Haryana and
Rajasthan.

"Around January 13 and 14, moderate to dense fog is
expected to make a comeback, which will result in high pollution levels
and minimums will see a drop by a couple of degrees," he said.

However,
the Skymet Director said that post January 15, the air quality might
start improving due to cold, north-westerly winds which will blow over
the plains of the country.

The System of Air Quality and Weather
Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), in its daily pollution analysis, has
been maintaining that the air quality in Delhi won't go beyond the 'very
poor' category.

On Saturday however, many areas in Delhi and
adjoining areas at 12 p.m recorded 'severe' levels of toxic particulate
matter (PM) 2.5.

Anand Vihar at 448, Dwarka sector-8 at 450, ITO
at 413, Mundka at 438, Delhi University North Campus at 416, R.K. Puram
at 415, and Wazirpur at 434 - all recorded 'severe' levels of PM2.5.

Other
areas like Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Ashok Vihar, Burari Crossing,
Vivek Vihar, Sirifort, Okhla Phase-2 also fared in the same category.

On
Wednesday and Thursday, Delhi-NCR witnessed its first better days of
the year with the air quality recorded in the 'poor' zone.

The
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast light rainfall at
isolated places in Delhi over the weekend which might bring down
pollution levels.