With air quality in Delhi-NCR finally improving to "moderate" due to the meteorological conditions, the pollution monitoring agencies say it is the first December in three years when the national capital inhaled "normal" air.
On Thursday, Delhi and the region around it saw a "moderate" air quality with the Air Quality Index (AQI) at 194 in Delhi at 4 p.m. It was consistent till 9 p.m.
This is for the first time that normal air quality was seen across Delhi-NCR since October 7 this year, while it is first December to have normal air in the last three years, officials said.
"The wind speeds are up and it also drizzled at places, beside for past two days, we ensured curbing of extra emissions from burning of garbage, controlling fire at landfill sites and by water sprinkling," A. Sudhakar, Member Secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), told IANS.
He added that efforts were bolstered in the last two days as the national capital hosted cricket matches where Sri Lankan players seen on the field wearing masks.
"Officials were posted at all the landfill sites to actively check any incident of fire and it was doused within hours. Earlier, it would take civic bodies 48 hours to douse such a fire. Besides, the stubble burning totally stopped," Sudhakar added.
On Thursday, the most polluted regions including Vasundhra in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad, Anand Vihar in east Delhi and Delhi Technical University (DTU) in north Delhi saw normal air quality, ranging between "poor to moderate" since over 70 days as per records.
The level of major pollutant PM2.5, or particles with diameter less than 2.5 micrometers, at 9 p.m. was 88 across Delhi, while in Delhi NCR it was 87 against 254 and 261 on Tuesday.
The safe limit for PM2.5 according to International standards is 25 microgrammes per cubic meters and 60 units as per national standards.
"There could be more Decembers, but we began monitoring in 2015, since then it's for the first time when air quality has reached moderate," the official added.