The October air quality in Delhi this year is indicating a significant increase in pollution levels, surpassing the levels recorded in 2022 and 2021. Data for the first 19 days of October shows an average Air Quality Index (AQI) of 181.7, exceeding the averages for the previous two years. In comparison, the average AQI for 2020 was recorded at 226.1.

Unfortunately, there is little improvement expected in the days to come, with the AQI forecasted to deteriorate and enter the poor range on Friday. This poor air quality is predicted to persist for the next six days.

Officials from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) have noted that wind speed, which was in the range of 6 to 8 km/hour on Thursday, is expected to decrease to 4 to 8 km/hour on Friday and Saturday. While a slight increase is anticipated on Sunday, the AQI is likely to remain in the poor category.

The favorable AQI levels observed in 2022 were attributed to the late withdrawal of the monsoon and frequent rains due to western disturbances (WD). In 2021, a higher number of rainy days contributed to better air quality. However, this year, the city experienced only one WD event, resulting in a single day of rainfall. In 2022, the city had six rainy days, while 2021 saw seven.

Over the last three days, Delhi witnessed an improvement in AQI, transitioning from poor to satisfactory and moderate levels, thanks to recent rainfall and strong winds. Nevertheless, these improvements tend to be short-lived.

IMD officials have suggested that there is a possibility of very light rain in certain parts of the city on Sunday. However, conditions are not conducive for a significant deterioration in AQI beyond the poor category. An unfavorable ventilation index, which is characterized by a value of less than 6000 m2/s and an average wind speed of less than 10 km/h, hinders the dispersion of pollutants. These conditions are not expected to occur in the upcoming week.

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