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While the air quality index (AQI) was found to be the highest in the capital, it was lowest in Bengaluru. Delhi’s average AQI was found to be consistently above 250 and the average PM2.5 concentration was above 200 micrograms per cubic metre, three times above the safe standard. In comparison, Bengaluru’s average AQI ranged between 50 and 70 during this period while the average PM 2.5 concentration was around 25 micrograms per cubic metre.
Among the remaining cities, Mumbai recorded average AQI levels to be around 150, while Kolkata, despite largely shunning fireworks, saw a spike in average AQI post Diwali from 120 to 170. Similarly, Pune recorded a higher average AQI of above 100 post Diwali. Chennai actually recorded a drop in readings post Diwali with the AQI falling to around 50 from 110 before Diwali. Hyderabad and Jaipur continued to show moderate levels of pollution with average AQI ranging between 100 and 130, data showed.
Madhusudan Anand, cofounder and CTO, Ambee said, “Our analysis indicates that among all the cities, Delhi continues to face hazardous levels of pollution with average AQI and PM2.5 much higher than the safe limits. Despite small showers, the ongoing stubble burning situation will only worsen the air quality further. In addition, dropping temperatures will also induce smog, which creates health risks and visibility problems.” Temperature in NCR is expected to dip lower than last year, which may further contribute to higher pollution, Anand added.
“A higher drop in visibility is expected in Jaipur, Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow and Patna compared to last year. Other cities, such as Mumbai and Chennai, will experience moderate air quality while Kolkata and Hyderabad will continue to witness pollution levels that are slightly higher than the safety limits,” Anand said.
Ambee uses a multimodal approach to monitor air quality at a street by street level.
Data at the neighbourhood level in Delhi found Rohini’s Sector-16, Mangolpuri, Sanoth village (Narela), Prashant Vihar and Lampur village (Narela) to be among the most polluted locations during this period, having an average AQI above 350. The least polluted locations, meanwhile, were Kakrola, the District Court Complex in Saket and GGSIP in Dwarka, with average PM 2.5 readings hovering around 120 micrograms per cubic metre.