Delhi and the National Capital Region have recorded their best average air quality between January and August in the past eight years, from 2016 to 2023 (barring the Covid-affected 2020 period). According to government data, the daily average PM2.5 concentrations in Delhi-NCR were recorded at around 77 µg/m³, compared to the range of 85-97 µg/m³ during the corresponding periods from 2017 to 2022.
The air quality of the region was greatly impacted by the levels of rainfall, precipitation, and wind speed. The month of August 2023 has been one of the driest, with a rain deficit of about 30 percent across the entire country and a significant deficit in Delhi, Haryana, and Rajasthan of more than 50% compared to the normal levels. Strong dust storm activities occurred between August 26 to 28, increasing PM10 concentrations. However, despite these storms, the daily average air quality in the month of August remained within the “Satisfactory to Moderate” category.
Delhi also experienced the highest number of days when the Air Quality Index (AQI) was rated as good and moderate compared to the past five years. Favourable meteorological conditions, continuous ground-level efforts, actions by various stakeholder agencies to reduce air pollution, and ongoing monitoring and enforcement actions have contributed to the improvement in air quality during 2023.
These changes bring hope at a time when reports indicate a direct impact of air pollution on our health. According to a recent Air Quality Life Index report, the life expectancy of people living in Delhi is likely to be reduced by 11.9 years due to the increase in air pollution.