New Delhi: Residents continued to complain of respiratory problems and burning eyes as entire Delhi and NCR area remained covered in a shroud of smog the entire Saturday, while experts ruled out any respite with the situation expected to continue for a couple of days.
The air quality continued to remain alarming in Delhi-NCR because of calm winds.
The average level of particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) was above 400 micrograms per cubic metre or the "severe" category at all the pollution measuring centres including at Anand Vihar in east Delhi, Punjabi Bagh and Dwarka in the west, RK Puram in the south, Mandir Marg in central Delhia.
The maximum level — 500 microgrammes per cubic metre — was at Anand Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, Mandir Marg and R.K. Puram whereas it was marginally lower at 493 in Dwarka.
Private weather forecaster, Skymet Director, Mahesh Palawat said that entire Delhi-NCR was engulfed in a thick layer of smog due to calm winds which stopped the pollutants for dispersing.
He said that the passing of 'Western Disturbances' over Himalayas made the conditions worst in north India including Delhi.
"Whenever western disturbance passes over Himalayas, it increases the level of humidity which enhances the capacity of air to bear the pollutants for a long time. This results in thick layer of smog over the cities," Palawat told IANS.
"The situation is expected to remain same tomorrow (Sunday) and the day after. The smog will start dispersing after 7 November (Monday) as dry north-westerly winds with speed 10-15 km/hr are expected to sweep through the region," he said.
Palawat also held the burning of paddy stubble in Punjab and Haryana responsible for sad state of affair in Delhi.
People living in Delhi-NCR complained about respiratory problems and itching in the eyes due to smog all over the region.
"It was difficult for me to breath properly and my eyes were itching because of high level of air pollution today (Saturday). I did not go for morning walk due to smog. Due to smog the gaze was also turning hazy," Devi Das, a resident of R.K. Puram area, told IANS.
Similarly Kartik Kumar, who works with a marketing firm, said that his eyes were itching and were turning watery because of high level of air pollution.
"This is the worst level of pollution I have ever seen in Delhi. Entire city is engulfed in smog. The authorities have to take some very serious steps to deal with the situation," he said.
Vivek Chatopadhyay, a senior researcher with NGO Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said that burning of crop residue in Punjab and Haryana was not the only source of the smog in Delhi but pollutants emitted from diesel cars and truck were also major contributors.
"Such situation is usually witnessed a day after Diwali but now this is happening on a normal day. This indicates that the condition has become very very serious. Now the air quality in Delhi is constantly under highest alarming level," Chatopadhyay told IANS.
He said that the present level of smog has proved that the current system of air pollution is a complete failure.
"There is a need to curtail down the pollutants and the government will have to take some very serious measures to deal with the crisis," he added.