Desert winds and dry heat combine to create a dusty veil over Delhi | Latest News India

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Dusty fog shrouded the capital and neighboring cities Tuesday morning, but strong winds blew grains of sand from the Rajasthan desert, uprooting loose soil and local construction debris, leaving the sky almost white in the afternoon. became.

Sandstorm in Delhi (AP)

The main pollutant was PM10 particles, which are coarser than the noxious PM2.5 produced mainly as smoke, with levels reaching nearly 30 times the safe limit in some areas of the city.

Also read: Dust storm causes NCR pollution levels to spike, expected to continue for the next two days

“Since 04:00 am, strong winds kicked up dust over Delhi NCR, causing local dust to rise. ,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, a scientist at the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), citing no rain and temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius. Factors that contributed to the phenomenon.

“So the topsoil was also pretty dry, which made it easier to get blown away by strong winds and then gradually subsided during the day. In a scenario like this, unless it rains, it takes hours before the dust comes down.” Wednesday will be another dusty day for the region, but visibility will improve, he added. “Local dust will be cleared, but long-distance transport from Rajasthan will be restricted.”

This summer’s episode of pollution has once again put the spotlight on dangerous air pollution levels that are now a permanent environmental crisis for the capital. Most of it occurs in the winter, when light winds whip up local pollutants and farm fires bring toxic fumes, but even in the summer, when dust storms of the kind recorded on Tuesday hit the city, they are now routine. is occurring

The cause is the erosion of the Aravalli Mountains, which once acted as a natural barrier between the northwestern deserts, and rampant construction work in the city with little regard for compliance with dust abatement mandates. And Tuesday’s events served as a reminder why it’s important for the metropolitan area to take care of lifelines rather than prey on them.

The average air quality index (AQI), recorded at 4 p.m. Tuesday, fell from 162, classified as “moderate,” to “poor,” on Monday, according to data from the Central Pollution Control Commission. rose to 254 to be. By 11pm, AQI had deteriorated to 331 in the ‘very poor’ zone of Delhi, while NCR cities Noida (374), Ghaziabad (366) and Greater Noida (360) recorded.

The weather took a turn for the worse around 4 a.m. Tuesday, with winds blowing from 30-40 kph to 80,000 a.m. in a few hours, and visibility recorded at Param increased from 3,200 m at 5:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. Sometimes it went down to just 900 meters.

The deteriorating air quality prompted NCR’s Air Quality Management Committee (CAQM) to hold an emergency meeting, which said the surge was temporary and that air quality could improve over the next 24-48 hours. said to be high.

“After a comprehensive review of air quality scenarios, the GRAP Subcommittee concluded that this was an exceptional accidental event, causing the continued dispersion of dust into the atmosphere over Delhi-NCR. The situation is likely to improve in the next 1-2 days, with some rain expected on May 18. The Sub-Committee will closely monitor the situation over the next few days and will continue to develop air quality scenarios for Delhi. We will be reviewing the NCR accordingly,” CAQM said in a statement Tuesday.

VK Soni, an IMD scientist and member of the CAQM subcommittee implementing the Gradual Response Action Plan (Grap), said the dust is expected to have subsided by Tuesday evening, but air quality has significantly improved. said it would not improve. “Air quality will deteriorate from very poor, but PM 10 will still exceed acceptable levels. But a repeat on Tuesday is not expected,” he said.

IMD satellite imagery showed dust in Delhi NCR, western Uttar Pradesh, northern Haryana and parts of Rajasthan during the day.

Experts said dust particles can irritate the lungs, cause respiratory illnesses and exacerbate existing conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and allergies.

Also read: Illinois Sandstorm: Video: 6 killed in deadly sandstorm in US

“People suffering from respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are at greater risk due to dust pollution. It can exacerbate their condition and trigger seizures.” Dr. Jugal Kishore, Chief of Internal Medicine at Safdarjun Hospital said.

Dusty conditions also exacerbate rhinitis, allergies and eye irritation, he said, adding that people should try to stay indoors and cover their nose and mouth with a wet cloth until air quality improves.

He said the government could consider banning construction and demolition activities until the situation improved.

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