For the first time this season, Delhi’s air quality turned 'severe' on Tuesday with the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was 401, falling in the 'severe' category, according to the Central Pollution Control Board. Stubble burning in neighbouring states is said to be the main reason behind the condition.
The Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) recorded the AQI at 410. An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.
Why it’s a matter of ‘severe’ concern?
# According to data by the CPCB, 18 areas in the national capital recorded 'severe' air quality with the highest AQI at 4 PM recorded at Anand Vihar at 467.
# Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Noida recorded 'severe' air pollution, crossing the AQI of 400.
# Greater Noida's air is also on the brink of turning severe, according to the data.
# SAFAR attributed the spike to "heavy stubble burning in the last 24 hours and calm winds".
# The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) also spotted a large number of biomass fire spots through satellite imageries in neighbouring states of Delhi.
# The leading factor causing severe pollution levels also include moisture and heavy air. "The increase in surface wind speed can only prevent AQI to cross severe zone," the official said. D Saha, former additional director and head of air quality management division in CPCB, said entire northern India coupled with the Indo-Gangetic plains are under the grip of 'severe' to 'very poor' air quality.
On Monday, the Supreme Court prohibited the plying of 15-year-old petrol and 10-year-old diesel vehicles in the national capital and also made it clear that such vehicles would be impounded if found on the roads in Delhi-NCR.
Terming as "very critical" and "horrible" the prevailing pollution situation in Delhi-NCR, the court directed that a list of 15-year-old petrol and 10-year-old diesel vehicles be published on the website of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and transport departments of the NCR area.
Last week, the Supreme Court had ruled that people in the country can burst firecrackers only from 8 pm to 10 pm only on Diwali permitting the sale and manufacture of low emission “green” firecrackers countrywide.
(With PTI inputs)