Cyclone Ockhi's surprise gift for Delhi: Air quality goes from 'severe' and 'very poor' to just 'poor'

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Cyclone Ockhi's surprise gift for Delhi: Air quality goes from 'severe' and 'very poor' to just 'poor'

"Our air quality is improving every hour and we hope it will continue to improve," a Central Pollution Control Board official said.

Thanks to cyclone Ockhi, Delhi's air quality, which has been in 'very poor' and 'severe' categories for some time, improved to 'poor' on Wednesday.

Dipankar Saha, air lab chief of the Central Pollution Control Board, said, "Our air quality is improving every hour and we hope it will continue to improve."

"Now the wind is blowing very easily from north to south with a speed of 4.5 m/s, which has resulted in dispersion of pollutants, leading to improvement in air quality after long pause," he added.

Just days ago, NASA Earth, in an update posted on its website, said the smog and remnants of air pollution present over northern India might be cleared by the arrival of Ockhi.

SMOG CHOKES CAPITAL

Pollution and smog has been a major problem in northern India, especially in Delhi. The air quality in the national capital troubled visiting Sril Lankan cricket team as well.

The first week of November saw particularly dense smog envelope New Delhi and the rest of the National Capital Region (NCR), with residents taking to social media to highlight how the bad air quality had destroyed visibility in the national capital.

Along with this, private air monitoring networks, including some NGOs, reported that the air quality in NCR had turned poisonous, leading to both the Delhi government and Centre facing tough questions over how and why the failed to battle a recurring problem.

While the situation improved slightly in the weeks since then, the issue was thrust back into the limelight when members of the Sri Lankan national cricket team were seen sporting masks during their test match against India at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.

Sri Lanka's complaints over poor air quality even led to play being briefly halted, in what was seen as a major embarrasment for the national capital.