Delhi's air quality further deteriorated on Thursday and was recorded in the ‘very poor' category, with the authorities predicting a rise in pollution levels over the next two days. The major pollutants PM 2.5 were recorded at 405 and PM 10 at 414 (poor category) in the RK Puram area. In the Anand Vihar area, the Air Quality Index (AQI) PM 2.5 was at 416 and PM 10 at 668, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR). At the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium area, PM 2.5 was at 363 and PM 10 at 369. AQI at Punjabi Bagh Delhi was recorded poor, PM 2.5 was at 392 while the PM 10 was at 357.
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On Wednesday, the overall air quality index (AQI) of Delhi stood at 372, which falls in the 'very poor' category, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data showed. "Overall air quality of Delhi continues to be very poor. The minimum temperature is likely to fall in Delhi (resulting in additional moisture in the air). Hence, the air quality will remain in the 'very poor' category for the next three days," the SAFAR said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said that greater usage of public transport facilities will be a "major step" towards curbing air pollution. Addressing a stakeholders' consultation on Tuesday on the proposed draft electric vehicles policy for Delhi, Kejriwal also reiterated his government has the "political will" to take "tough decisions" to cut down pollution.
Last week, the Central Pollution Control Board slapped a fine of Rs 1 crore each on three oil companies for their failure to install anti-pollution "vapour recovery" systems at fuel stations. The fine was slapped on public sector oil firms Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited.
Delhi is reeling under the menace of air pollution for the past couple of years. The region faced a major air quality crisis last year when severe pollution level forced the shutdown of schools and colleges. In 2016, the government tried to explore the possibility of cloud seeding for artificial rain but the plan never worked out.
An AQI between 100 to 200 comes under ‘moderate’ category, 201 and 300 is considered ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’ while between 401 and 500 ‘severe’. The overall PM2.5 (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometre) level was recorded at 143 and the PM10 (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometre) level at 253, according to SAFAR.