Bhubaneswar: Private weather forecasting agency Skymet Saturday suggested Bhubaneswar air quality to be ‘hazardous’ as PM 2.5 in its air quality index (AQI) touched 418 at 7:15pm near Jayadev Vihar.
Several other global agencies including air-quality.com also put Bhubaneswar in the ‘unhealthy’, ‘severe’ to ‘hazardous’ categories depending upon their AQI.
It may be mentioned here that according to Indian AQI, a score between 0 and 50 is considered safe, 51-100 satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 falls in the severe category. The above 500 is severe as well as the emergency category.
That said, the regional centre of India Meteorological Centre (IMD) said that the air quality is less harmful than Delhi given the absence of smog.
“The fog seen in Bhubaneswar is actually mist caused by small droplets of water suspended in air ahead of onset of winter. This signals the onset of winter. Usually, smog level is very less in Bhubaneswar,” said Bhubaneswar IMD Director HR Biswas while adding that the foggy condition occasionally occurs especially in coastal area owing to anticyclonic flow and presence of mist in the air in November.
Biswas further explained that the condition is likely to prevail in Bhubaneswar over next several days – especially during morning hours.
“Since wind speed is very low in winter, it cannot uplift the smog leading to pollution in the atmosphere. That said, the level of air pollution found in Delhi is yet to reach alarming levels in Bhubaneswar,” Biswas said.
While weather scientists differ over the quality of air in the town, denizens of Bhubaneswar are a panicked lot over the thick and dense fog that could be seen at many areas of the town.
The regional IMD centre, in its afternoon bulletin said that shallow fog has occurred at one or two places over the districts of South Interior Odisha. Light rainfall has occurred at one or two places over the districts of South Odisha and weather has been dry over the districts of North Odisha. Chief amount of rainfall has been recorded in Nuagada area of Gajapati district.
Minimum temperatures observed saw no large change over Odisha. They were above normal over South Odisha and normal over North Odisha. Highest maximum temperature of 34.8 degrees Celsius was recorded at Gopalpur and the lowest minimum temperature of 14.5 degrees Celsius was recorded at Sundargarh in the plains of the state.