Toxic smog continues to shroud Delhi-NCR with air quality index turning severe yet again. According to Ministry of Earth Science-backed System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the AQI level in and around Delhi was in emergency zone. While the overall air quality index of Delhi stood at 482, neighbouring Noida and Gurugram had worst air than the National Capital. The Air Quality Index in Noida was registered at 583 and the pollution indicator in Gurugram was at 548. According to the CPCB, another government agency, Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad breathed very poor air with the AQI hovering at 478. Greater Noida was shade better at 460. With morning and overnight temperature dipping to 18 degree Celsius, the smoggy condition will prevail in the region.
Apart from temperature, another key factor is wind velocity. As the experts say, the low surface wind is dense and carry more pollutants. The only hope for people of Delhi is either a brief spell of rain or high-speed winds, which can clear the sky. According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, Delhi’s annual average PM 2.5 (particulate matter of 2.5 micron size) last year was 115 microgram per cubic metre while the WHO recommends this be kept under 10 micrograms per cubic metre.
The World Health Organization sys that air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year. The WHO data shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. More than 80% of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO guideline limits, with low- and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures, both indoors and outdoors. Some 91% of those premature deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries, and the greatest number in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.
A 2013 assessment by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that outdoor air pollution is carcinogenic to humans, with the particulate matter component of air pollution most closely associated with increased cancer incidence, especially lung cancer. An association also has been observed between outdoor air pollution and increase in cancer of the urinary tract/bladder.