Why Delhi's air quality has been so good lately

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaSep 11, 2023 | 14:34

Why Delhi's air quality has been so good lately

On Sunday (September 10), Delhi experienced its first 'good' air day of the year. Photo: Unsplash

When it comes to Delhi, pollution has always been a pressing issue. The city has frequently experienced hazardous levels of pollution, with recent reports indicating that Delhi residents might lose up to 12 years of their lives due to this problem.

But it seems like Delhi is seeing some better days when it comes to pollution.


  • On Sunday (September 10), Delhi experienced its first 'good' air day of the year, as indicated by an AQI (Air Quality Index) of 45, marking the cleanest air quality recorded so far in 2023.
  • The 'good' air quality category was not limited to Delhi alone; it also extended to Ghaziabad and Noida. Additionally, Gurgaon reported a 'satisfactory' AQI level, according to data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
  • In terms of the AQI scale, the 'good' category (ranging from 0 to 50) is associated with minimal health impact, as per the CPCB. AQI in the 'satisfactory' category (ranging from 51 to 100) may lead to minor discomfort for individuals who are particularly sensitive to air quality issues.

But there's more...

Ahead of the G20, last week, the pollution level in Delhi was below 100 throughout the week, and several factors contributed to it.

Let's break it down

According to India Today, a lot of credit goes to The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), which made several efforts to decrease the pollution levels ahead of the G20:

  • The NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Council) embarked on a comprehensive cleaning initiative that encompassed both roads and pedestrian pathways, with 2,100 sanitation workers.
  • This endeavor involved employing various methods, including deep cleaning with water and mechanical road sweeping.
  • Next, 13 vehicles were assigned to clean the demolition and construction area that falls under NDMC.
  • Anti-smog guns were also deployed to suppress dust on roads and control air pollution.
  • Throughout the monsoon season, more than 32 lakh shrubs and 3,100 tree saplings of different species were introduced to the New Delhi area.
  • Sprinklers were also used consistently, which helped cleanse Delhi’s characteristically polluted air.

These efforts, combined with the strict prohibition of vehicular movement and the shutdown of various public spaces, led to a good AQI last week. Vehicles were banned, and public places were shut in the Central Delhi region because of the G20, which was taking place in New Delhi over the weekend.


Apart from this, another significant factor that played a role in decreasing air pollution was the weather. Delhi is witnessing mild rain this weekend, accompanied by strong winds that helped clear the air of pollutants.

AQI in the past

Here's some context: During the same period last year, Delhi's AQI was notably higher, at 141 on September 9 and 110 (both in the moderate category) the following day.

Previously, Delhi experienced its cleanest air day on July 29, with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 59, placing it within the "satisfactory" category. Comparatively, the previous year, Delhi had just three 'good' air quality days, occurring in September and October. Looking further back, in 2021, the city had one 'good' air quality day in October, while in 2020, there were five such days, and in 2019, two, according to data from the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board).

Last updated: September 11, 2023 | 14:35
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