Haze engulfs Delhi as air quality worsens
A haze engulfed the national capital as the air quality nosedived to very poor category, with several areas inching towards severe pollution levels, authorities said on Saturday
New Delhi: A haze engulfed the national capital as the air quality nosedived to very poor category, with several areas inching towards severe pollution levels, authorities said on Saturday.
The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi was recorded at 324, which falls in the very poor category and is highest of this season, creating hazy conditions, according to the data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The deterioration of air quality comes a day after fire crackers were burst on the occasion of Dusshera even after repeated appeals by authorities to have eco-friendly celebrations.
About 33 areas in Delhi recorded very poor air quality while two areas show severe air quality levels, according to CPCB. Anand Vihar, DTU, Mundaka, Narela, Nehru Nagar and Rohini all showed very poor air quality and are inching towards severe pollution levels, it said.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered "good", 51 and 100 "satisfactory", 101 and 200 "moderate", 201 and 300 "poor", 301 and 400 "very poor", and 401 and 500 "severe". Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida and Greater Noida all recorded very poor air quality.
A Central Pollution Control Board official said many factors were responsible for the deteriorating air quality, including vehicular pollution and construction activities and meteorological factor like direction of wind which is now flowing from the stubble burning areas.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the air quality had deteriorated to the very poor category, alarming authorities who were planning to roll out more stringent measures to combat pollution. The air quality temporarily improved on Friday after rainfall, but it worsened again. An official warned that the PM2.5 is reaching dangerous levels.
The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Protection Control Authority (EPCA) on Friday held a meeting with state governments and Delhi officials to discuss the pollution situation in the national capital.
An EPCA member said that after taking stock of the situation, it was decided that special attention would be given to vulnerable hotspots where poor or very poor air quality is observed.
The PM2.5 (presence of particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) has touched a new high at 167. The PM2.5, also called "fine particulates," can be a matter of more serious health concern than PM10.
The PM10 level (presence of particles in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres) in Delhi stood at 293, according to the data from the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research.
Images by NASA showed rampant stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana in the last two weeks. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday warned that Delhi will become a "gas chamber soon" as the Centre, Punjab and Haryana governments did "absolutely nothing" for farmers involved in stubble burning.
"V sad that Central, Punjab and Haryana Govts did absolutely nothing for the farmers. As a result, the farmers will suffer on one hand and Delhi will become a gas chamber soon (sic)," Kejriwal tweeted.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday appealed to the Centre and the governments of Haryana and Punjab to initiate measures in the wake of the deteriorating air quality in north India, including Delhi.