The national capital on Wednesday woke up to witness smog as air quality was recorded in ‘severe’ category. The major pollutants PM 2.5 were recorded at 398 and PM 10 at 372 (very poor category) in the RK Puram area. In the Anand Vihar area, the Air Quality Index (AQI) PM 2.5 was at 443 and PM 10 at 402. At the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium area, PM 2.5 was at 381 and PM 10 at 375. AQI at Punjabi Bagh Delhi was recorded 'very poor', PM 2.5 was at 416 while the PM 10 was at 376. Delhi's air quality has been oscillating between 'very poor' and 'severe' categories for the past 10 days.
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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) and SAFAR said the air quality is likely to remain in the ‘severe’ category owing to low wind speed, which is highly unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants. The authorities warned that moderate fog and emissions during night hours may result in deterioration of the air quality and this situation may prevail till Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the overall air quality index (AQI) was 404, while the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) recorded an AQI of 405, both of which are under the ‘severe’ category. Nineteen areas in Delhi recorded ‘severe’ pollution, while 14 witnessed ‘very poor’ air quality, the CPCB data showed. Ghaziabad and Noida recorded ‘severe’ air quality, while in Faridabad and Gurgaon recorded it was in the ‘very poor’ category.
“Any new trigger in terms of additional local emission, particularly from open fire, pyrotechnic display and fossil fuel burning may make air heavier and thick with low ventilation, and may lead to rapid deterioration in air quality to severe-plus range,” the SAFAR said.
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.