The national capital on Wednesday woke up to witness dense fog as 'severe' air quality was recorded. 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 258 (very poor category) in the RK Puram area. In the Anand Vihar area, the Air Quality Index (AQI) PM 2.5 was at 311 and PM 10 at 195. At the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium area, PM 2.5 was at 232 and PM 10 at 189. AQI at Punjabi Bagh Delhi was recorded poor, PM 2.5 was at 354 while the PM 10 was at 258. 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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On Tuesday, Delhi recorded the coldest day of the season with mercury levels dropping to 19.5 degrees Celsius, two notches below the season's average. The day's minimum temperature was recorded at 5 degrees Celsius, three notches below the normal, a MeT department official said, adding that it was the coldest day of the month. Flight operations were partially suspended at the Delhi airport due to low visibility as departures were put on hold and more than 80 flights were delayed, an official said. Humidity oscillated between 100 and 52 per cent.
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 had said.
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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.