The national capital woke up to witness dense fog as 'severe' air quality was recorded on Christmas eve. The unfavourable meteorological conditions are likely to keep the air quality in the 'severe' category for the next couple of days, authorities said. The major pollutants PM 2.5 were recorded at 338 and PM 10 at 225 (very poor category) in the RK Puram area. In the Anand Vihar area, the Air Quality Index (AQI) PM 2.5 was at 358 and PM 10 at 259. At the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium area, PM 2.5 was at 309 and PM 10 at 300. AQI at Punjabi Bagh Delhi was recorded poor, PM 2.5 was at 349 while the PM 10 was at 222. This is the fourth time this season that the air quality here has worsened to severe category. The first time it dipped to the severe category this year was just two days before Diwali.
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In some parts of Delhi, pollution levels hit 654 on Monday, among the worst recorded this year, and visibility in some parts of the city was 200 metres, according to the weather department.
On Monday, Union Environment Secretary CK Mishra said that this was a "temporary phase" due to unfavourable weather conditions and measures were in "full swing" to tackle with Delhi pollution. "This is a temporary phase, largely because of meteorological conditions over Delhi and the surrounding areas. It is not as if the level of emissions has suddenly gone up," he said.
"It is just that dispersal (of pollutants) is not happening because of the meteorological conditions. Humidity, dew, no wind and temperature are combining to create this situation. Fortunately, this is a temporary phase and hopefully from December 26 it (wind speed)should pick up," he added.
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.
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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.