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‘Very poor’ air quality still choking Delhi

29 October 2018
‘Very poor’ air quality still choking Delhi

Delhi's air quality remained very poor for the fourth day on October 27 with five areas of the national capital recording severe pollution levels, as authorities warned the situation may deteriorate further next week due to localised emissions during the festival and stubble burning. The highest AQI of the season was recorded on Friday at 361.

Twelve pollution monitoring stations in different parts of the city recorded severe air quality while 20 stations recorded very poor air quality, data showed. These are Anand Vihar, Dwarka Sector 8, Narela, Punjabi Bagh and Rohini.

Expecting a highly polluted Diwali, a pollution task force headed by the CPCB on Friday issued advisories to a Supreme Court-appointed environment body, suggesting closure of industries, construction and intensified traffic regulation between November 1 and 10.

The decline in air quality has been attributed to vehicular pollution, construction dust as well as stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab, said authorities.

Faridabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Gurgaon had also recorded air quality in the "very poor" category Thursday, according to CPCB data.

It has recommended avoiding outdoor strenuous exercises, minimal use of private vehicles to reduce exposure to toxic air.

An air quality index or AQI between zero 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".

Stubble-burning in Delhi's neighbouring Punjab and Haryana is now contributing to 20-30 per cent of the Capital's overall air-pollution, at a time when winds over Delhi are calm, officials said.

In July, according to a new study which ranked the national capital third in a list of cities reporting most deaths due to air pollution, it was revealed that almost 15,000 people died prematurely in Delhi due to pollution by fine particulate matter in 2016.

"We are reviewing the air-quality status on a daily basis and weather conditions in November are not going to be similar to what we have present", CPCB head said, adding the department would appreciate if people use "Sameer", a mobile app to report environment violations such as garbage dumping and open burning.

"Weather conditions are projected to become adverse from November 1", warned the India Meteorological Department.

Meanwhile, SAFAR has also issued a health advisory due to increase in the pollution level of the city. In fact, residents have also been asked to keep their windows shut and wear masks.