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Sharp decline in Delhi air quality as pollution levels worsen, visibility drops to 50 metres but Met dept says fog, not smog

Delhi, which is has been grappling with serious pollution issues, woke up to a cold and foggy morning with a sharp decline in the air quality levels with various places, including India Gate and Rajpath, enveloped in smog. According to reports, visibility dropped to 200 metre at 8.30am on Tuesday.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said high moisture level in the air has trapped emissions from local sources and hanging low over the city in the absence of wind. "Total calm conditions, marked by the complete absence of wind has led to the situation. The moisture has trapped emissions from ground-level sources," Dipankar Saha, CPCB's air lab chief, told PTI.

Saha said air from neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, where paddy stubble burning is in full swing, is not entering the city as of now. When it starts, the situation is expected to deteriorate further. The CPCB recorded 'very poor' air quality in the national capital. Neighbouring Noida and Ghaziabad, however, recorded 'severe'air quality.

The average air quality index (AQI) hit 396 (very poor) at 8am, Hindustan Times reported. The AQI peaked to 403 by 9.30 am. This is the second time New Delhi hit severe category in pollution levels since Diwali. Met department, however, told the newspaper that it was fog and not smog what Delhi was witnessing.

According to Zee News,  central Delhi recorded PM2.5 level of 792 micrograms per cubic metre near India Gate at 7:30 am on Tuesday. While pollution level at Punjabi Bagh was at 894 micrograms per cubic metre, while Anand Vihar registered 856 micrograms per cubic metre of PM2.5 level.

The maximum PM2.5 level considered 'safe' by Indian standards is 60 micrograms per cubic metre, the report added.

On Sunday, the pollution levels at some places during morning hours were 12 to 19 times the permissible limit. While Air Quality Index (AQI) of  neighboring Ghaziabad, and Noida was 439 (396 on Sat) and 423 (365 on Sat) respectively,

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), high moisture level in the air has trapped emissions from local sources and hanging low over the city in the absence of wind.

Total calm conditions, marked by the complete absence of wind has led to the situation. The moisture has trapped emissions from ground-level sources," Dipankar Saha, CPCB's air lab chief, said.

With low levels of pollution, schools in Gurugram has not only restricted outdoor sports, and physical education classes but also installing air purifiers, according to The Times of India.

Delhiites had to resort to wearing pollution masks with many residents been forced to skip their morning walks, India Today reported

On Monday, Air Quality Index (AQI), I was recorded at 316, considered 'hazardous' even for healthy adults, DNA reported, promoting the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) to direct the Transport Department and the civic bodies to strengthen the crackdown on garbage burning and vehicular emissions.

File image of pollution in Delhi. Reuters

File image of pollution in Delhi. Reuters

CPCB has predicted further deterioration of air quality level. According to Shah, air from neighboring Punjab and Haryana, where paddy stubble burning is in full swing, is not entering the city as of now. When it starts, the situation is expected to deteriorate further.

SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research) forecast also shows that air quality in the city will remain poor in the coming days, according to India Today.

The CPCB recorded 'very poor' air quality in the national capital. Neighbouring Noida and Ghaziabad, however, recorded 'severe'air quality.

Delhi's air quality was placed under "very poor" category with AQI recorded at 368 against 351 on Saturday.

The real-time pollution monitors displayed alarmingly high concentration of PM2.5 and PM10, which are ultrafine particulates having the ability to enter the respiratory system and subsequently the bloodstream of humans and animals, causing harm.

A 'very poor' AQI comes with the warning that people may develop respiratory illness on prolonged exposure while exposure to 'severe' air affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing respiratory or cardiovascular diseases.

With inputs from agencies.


Published Date: Nov 08, 2017 10:56 AM | Updated Date: Nov 08, 2017 18:08 PM

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