Delhi's air quality deteriorates, slides towards 'severe'

Michele Stevens
October 29, 2018

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi at 331 in the evening, the worst in the season so far.

Many areas choked with "severe" air-quality category, as both PM2.5 and PM10, or particles with diameter less than 2.5 and 10mm, intensified across the National Capital Region.

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Other measures include shutdown of coal and biomass-based industries (excluding thermal and waste-to-energy plants) from November 4 to 10; intensification of efforts by transport department to check polluting vehicles; and controlling traffic congestion in Delhi-NCR between November 1 and 10, as stated by the EPCA in its recommendations.

Experts have projected that air quality may dip further in the coming days, especially from the beginning of the next month, due to adverse weather conditions and approaching winter.

He said pollution levels of Delhi and NCR are expected to remain high till at least first week of November, after which Diwali will show its effect.

According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), "severe" AQI affects even healthy people, while seriously impacting the health of those suffering from respiratory ailments.

However, D Saha, former air quality chief at the CPCB, said meteorological factors like wind speed, solar direction and temperature are mostly responsible for increasing pollution levels in the city.

The public has been asked avoid outdoor strenuous activities.

Meanwhile, an inspection team led by Delhi Environment minister Imran Hussain Friday found "serious violations" in norms for dust control at the Pragati Maidan redevelopment site, following which the minister directed pollution control authorities to take strict action, the city government said.

The average concentration of PM2.5 and PM10 in Delhi were 220 and 408 units, while in NCR they were 241 and 404 units.

On Saturday, pollution forecasting agency Safar said that 32% of the pollutants in Delhi's air in the last 24 hours came from farm fires in the neighbouring states.

The most recent air pollution data from the World Health Organization released in March this year gave India the dubious distinction of having the world's ten most polluted cities. It also advised people to wear masks as a precaution.

The advisory also urged people to avoid using private vehicles and keep windows and doors that face roads closed.

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