Delhi-NCR woke up to yet another smog-filled morning on Monday with no relief from ongoing toxic air conditions. According the ‘System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research’ (SAFAR), the Air Quality Index of Delhi was recorded at 708 at 7:42 am. Neighbouring Noida much worse at AQI of 720. The worst zone in the NCR was Gurugram at scary AQI of 833. The breathable level according to SAFAR is between 0 and 50. Ghaziabad continues to reel under deadly smog with the Central Pollution Control Board registering AQI under ‘severe’ category. Indirapuram recorded AQI of 471, Vasundhara registered AQI of 465 and Loni was reeling under 485.
The Air Quality Index is a tool for effective communication of air quality status to people in terms, which are easy to understand. It transforms complex air quality data of various pollutants into a single number (index value), nomenclature and colour. There are six AQI categories, namely Good + Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe.
On Sunday, low visibility due to heavy smog disrupted flight operations at the Delhi airport, with 37 flights diverted to other airports and more than 250 departures and 300 arrivals delayed, officials said. Pollution levels in Delhi peaked to a three-year high on Sunday. NASA satellite imagery showed vast swathes of the northern plains, covering Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, blanketed under a smoky haze. Due to low visibility at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), 37 flights were diverted between 9 am and 1 pm to places like Jaipur, Amritsar, Lucknow and Mumbai, the airport officials said. A senior government official said more than 250 departures and 300-plus arrivals at the Delhi airport were delayed due to heavy smog.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the national capital's 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) stood at 494 at 4 pm on Sunday, the highest since November 6, 2016, when it was 497. The Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, said the city's overall AQI reached as high as 708 around 5 pm, which is 14 times the safe level of 0-50.