Monday, 18 March, 2019

Delhi Grapples with Cold Wave, Air Quality in 'very Poor' Category

Will implement odd-even scheme whenever required Kejriwal Kejriwal said we all have to be participants in reducing pollution
Sandra Phillips | 27 December, 2018, 03:43

In view of the city's "severe" air quality, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) on Monday banned industrial activities in pollution hot spots and construction work across Delhi-NCR till Wednesday.

Officials attributed the sudden deterioration in the air quality to a change in wind direction, which is now blowing from the northwestern region towards Delhi and bringing dust and smoke from stubble burning in neighbouring states with it. Also, the Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded their second highest pollution levels this year on 23rd December at 450 AQI. The air quality remained "severe" on Monday and Tuesday before moving to "very poor" category on Wednesday morning.

Pollution levels in New Delhi have hit their worst this year in the past two days - earning a "severe" to "emergency" rating and indicating conditions that can spark a public health crisis.

According to SAFAR, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of the national capital was 423 - in the hazardous zone - as the minimum temperature was recorded at 5.6 degrees Celsius, two notches below the season's average.

An official of the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said intensified stubble burning is contributing almost 24 per cent of the air pollution in Delhi.

Senior officials predicted the severe pollution would last another three days due to unusually stagnant and cold air.

"Traffic police to deploy special teams and ensure congestion-free traffic flow particularly in identified high traffic corridors". The city's air quality remained in the "severe" category for the third consecutive day on Monday as the wind speed and other meteorological factors remained "highly unfavourable" for dispersion of pollutants.

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The index was 5500 sqm/second on Wednesday, the IITM said.

Agencies have been also asked to intensify ground actions and make all efforts to control polluting activities, particularly waste burning.

In NCR, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida recorded "severe" pollution levels while Gurgaon recorded "very poor" air quality, CPCB data showed.

Director Dr Randeep Guleria said there has been an increase in the number of patients visiting hospitals with complaints of respiratory problems and after suffering cardiac arrests during the months when pollution levels are high.

The concentration of harmful pollutants PM (Particulate Matter) 2.5 and PM10 in the ambient air was recorded at 230 microgramme per cubic metre (ug/m3), and 394 ug/m3. The agency has advised people to avoid all outdoor activities, such as taking walks.

The air quality is likely to remain in the "severe" category for the next couple of days due to unfavourable meteorological conditions.

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