Wednesday, 2 November,2016 witnessed the worst smog episode in many years reported Delhi airport sources. However, November 2012 saw almost similar conditions. As per the sources, during the day , when smog or fog usually shows improvement, general visibility at the IGI Airport was in the range of 300-500m, on a par with the dense fog days of December and January. By 9pm, the visibility had dropped to 250m.
On the other hand, the Met department has also predicted a slight improvement in smog conditions during day time on Thursday, but a significant improvement is being expected from November 7 onwards. Wind forecast sources revealed that there will be a gradual improvement of smog-related low visibility on Thursday and Friday to approx. 1,200m. The reason is high accumulation of pollutants in air which hampers the visibility.
Such thick smog, even in the absence of any rainfall and low temperatures in Delhi is a real matter of concern and not surprisingly, this may trigger to dense fog in the next couple of days, which is earlier than the normal arrival of fog across the capital. By November 6 or 7, 2016 winds of 10-15 kmph are expected to set in, which will improve smog conditions immensely. However, Wednesday’s smog, which was reported to be the worst in past few years, was a result of an extremely stable environment. Resultantly, the density of smog increased because pollutants were concentrated near the ground in a column of 500-700m.
The worst smog spell before this was from November 1to 8, 2012. During this period, the day visibility fluctuated from 600 to 1,000m. At present, there has already been smog over the city , which reduced visibility from 1,200 to 800m during the day since Diwali, on October 30. Apart from these conditions, there were no winds on Wednesday , said media sources. Northwest India, including Delhi, is expected to have a gradual fall in temperatures over in the next few days, as per the Met department.
Delhi’s air quality has become a matter of serious concern for some years now as it has been threatening the health of its residents. It is high time now that the authorities should realize that it also does enormous damage to the city’s brand equity. It is fast developing, but reputed as an unliveable city, one in which people would not prefer their children growing old with breathing poisonous air. Many with options are understandably voting with their feet and leaving the city for a more conducive atmosphere – literally. At this rate, far from being viewed as a place of opportunity, Delhi could soon be viewed as one in which people live out of sheer economic necessity.
That’s not a happy position to occupy. India’s other mega cities should also draw lessons from this and act to clean up their air before it reaches such toxic levels. They may not be there yet, but as Delhi’s experience shows, if they do not act now, they may be left fighting a grim battle.
Jaipur-bound flight lands in Delhi