Pollution levels in Delhi and neighbouring cities stood at an overall air quality index (AQI) of 466 on Sunday according to Central Pollution Control Board's 7 am weather bulletin. The National Capital remained in the 'severe' category on Sunday morning despite Saturday seeing a marginal dip in pollution with an increase in wind speed.
Weather experts told PTI that there is a significant improvement in wind speed and these winds are likely to increase gradually from Sunday, which will help reduce pollution levels. According to air quality monitor SAFAR, AQI in Delhi-NCR is expected to recover by 3 November from 'severe' to 'very poor', and by 4 November AQI is expected to improve further. A few areas of Delhi-NCR received light rain on Sunday morning. However, even after the shower, there was no relief from pollution.
— ANI (@ANI) November 3, 2019
Ghaziabad: Vasundhara at 486 and Indirapuram at 482 on Air Quality Index. (file pic) pic.twitter.com/venl46UbqD
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) November 3, 2019
Delhi receives mild showers, visuals from INA flyover. pic.twitter.com/6fvSTFu4SG
— ANI (@ANI) November 3, 2019
But according to India Today, all the pollution measuring stations in Delhi-NCR on Sunday morning recorded high numbers in pollution levels as the city remained in the 'severe' category.
Weather agency Skymet reported extremely high levels of pollution in Vasant Kunji, with numbers almost touching 740. They advised people against leaving their houses.
Delhi NCR has become a toxic gas chamber with #AirPollution touching sky rocketing value, making people difficult to breathe. PMs value for Vasant Kunj is over 750, people avoid going out and wear mask if you have to. #DelhiAirEmergency #DelhiBachao #DelhiAirQuality #DelhiChokes pic.twitter.com/s1Wvmhbj0X
— SkymetAQI (@SkymetAQI) November 3, 2019
Delhi citizens took to Twitter to upload photographs of the visibly polluted air in the National Capital, expressing 'helplessness' at the situation
An apocalypse named Delhi. pic.twitter.com/OWYveSdKax
— Nilanjana Bhowmick (@nilanjanab) November 3, 2019
— Jatin Singh (@JATINSKYMET) November 3, 2019
The Supreme Court is expected to consider a report by Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority related to air pollution on Monday. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra will also hear issue relating to pollution caused by stubble-burning in the neighbouring states, reports ANI.
In its report before the Supreme Court, EPCA has sought directions to neighbouring states to take steps to stop burning of waste, toxic emissions from industries and dust from construction sites.
After the pollution level in Delhi reached "severe-plus" category, the EPCA on Friday has declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-national capital region (NCR) and banned construction activity till 5 November.
The AQI dipped to an average of 399 for the past 24 hours, which is in the 'very poor' category and a shade better than the 'severe' category, according to the Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) 4 pm bulletin on Saturday.
However, at 8 pm on Saturday, 20 out of 37 monitoring stations recorded AQI in the 'severe' category (401-500). Vivek Vihar was the most polluted at 450 followed by Anand Vihar and ITO, both at 448.
In a crackdown on violators, authorities arrested 38 people including a director and three engineers, from sites of five real estate groups in Noida and Greater Noida for carrying out construction activities despite the ban.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation also issued four challans of five lakh each to construction companies involved in the ongoing development work in Pragati Maidan.
Amid concerns over the impact of the pollution on the T-20 match between India and Bangladesh at the Arun Jaitley stadium in the city, the SDMC said it has intensified water sprinkling in the area around the playground.
In the National Capital Region (NCR), Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida recorded AQIs of 455, 432 and 429, respectively, at 8 pm on Saturday. On Friday, they had an AQI of over 490.
With farmers continuing to defy the ban on stubble burning, a blanket of haze engulfed Punjab and Haryana with several districts reporting air quality index in "severe" (101-500) and "very poor" (301-400) categories.
Visibility also reduced substantially in most parts of the two agrarian states.
Fatehabad (AQI 493) in Haryana had the worst average air quality in India over a period of 24 hours ending on Saturday evening, according to the CPCB bulletin. Hisar, Jind, Faridabad and Kaithal also recorded air quality at "severe" level.
In neighbouring Punjab, the air quality fell in "poor" and "very poor" categories. Bathinda recorded air quality index at 318, followed by Ludhiana at 302.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered "good", 51-100 "satisfactory", 101-200 "moderate", 201-300 "poor", 301-400 "very poor", and 401-500 "severe". Above 500 is "severe-plus or emergency" category.
Haze is prevailing in Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh Meteorological Department Director Surinder Pal said.
Over 22,000 cases of stubble burning had been witnessed in Punjab and more than 4,200 incidents in Haryana in the recent days, officials said.
As the pollution levels entered the "severe-plus" category", the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on Friday declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR region and banned construction activity till 5 November. Delhi government also decided to shut all schools till 5 November after the EPCA declared a public health emergency in the region.
It also asked implementing agencies to take immediate stringent action to stop stubble-burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.
According to SAFAR, the share of stubble burning in Delhi's pollution rose to 46 percent on Friday, with farm fires continuing to rage in Haryana and Punjab. "The effective stubble fire counts of north-west India (Haryana and Punjab) is showing an increasing trend and on its peak value of this year (3,178) which has increased its share significantly to 46 percent," the SAFAR said.
Factors that remained unfavourable towards the dispersion of pollutants included low surface wind speed, dust lifting and low humidity, the SAFAR said.
However, a positive development is that now transport-level wind direction is westerly but the relief is "short-lived", the agency noted.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Nov 03, 2019 10:35:08 IST