Delhi witnessed significant improvement in air quality in 2022 as compared to the past years, with no record of “Severe+ day. A remarkable reduction in the number of days with “Severe” air quality was witnessed in 2022 as compared to all previous years, official sources said.
According to the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry, the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) initiated various policy measures and field actions to improve air quality.
The ministry stated in a release: “Significant improvement in the air quality of Delhi was witnessed during 2022 as compared to the past years (barring the periods of very low anthropogenic, industrial and commercial activities during the Covid affected year 2020, owing to complete lockdowns and other restrictions), pursuant to various preventive and mitigative field actions through numerous statutory directions and orders of the Commission, covering all major sectors contributing to the overall air quality.
While restrictions were also on for a considerable duration during 2021, the air quality indices viz. PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations in 2022 were even better than 2021, the ministry added.
The year 2022 witnessed three months (January, February and December) of best ever daily average AQI and 3 months (July, October and November) with second best daily average AQI during the entire period from 2018 to 2022, even taking into account the Covid affected low activity years of 2020 and 2021, it said.
Exceptionally prolonged dry spells during April, May and June in 2022, coupled with transportation of fine dust and particulate matter not only from the adjoining areas but also transboundary, resulted in poor AQI for these months, which otherwise was comparatively better for all other months during 2022 vis-à-vis previous years, it further said.
According to the ministry, the average daily AQI for Delhi during the entire year 2022 has been the best so far since 2015, barring 2020 which saw an exceptional AQI owing to continued spells of lockdown and low anthropogenic activities round the year.
While restrictions were also on for a considerable duration during 2021 leading to low levels of industrial, vehicular and other anthropogenic activities, the daily average AQI in 2022, with no such restrictions and all anthropogenic activities returning to normal; rather in a much higher proportion, was maintained at the levels of 2021.
However, PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations and other related Air quality parameters in 2022 were even better than 2021 in some aspects, it stated.