Friday, 22 January, 2021


Air quality in India's capital deteriorates to its worst in 2020

Delhi residents complain of breathlessness as air quality worsens Air quality in India's capital deteriorates to its worst in 2020
Kristine Garrett | 11 November, 2020, 20:57

Delhi woke up to a grey morning as an apocalyptic smog blotted out the sun from the sky and smudged landmarks from view with air quality inching closer to emergency levels on Tuesday.

With the rise in stubble burning and the onset of the festive season, a spike in air pollution levels was observed in the Delhi-NCR region.

The city's air quality index (AQI) stood at 477, the highest since November 3 previous year when it was 494, according to Central Pollution Control Board data.

According to the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), the air quality is considered to be in the "severe plus" or "emergency" category if the PM2.5 and PM10 levels persist above 300 g/m3 and 500 g/m3 respectively for more than 48 hours.

According to the Central pollution Control Board (CPCB), increased stubble burning and unfavourable wind speed kept the national capital in the "severe" air quality category for the fifth consecutive day.

Severe air pollution levels affects "healthy people" and "seriously impacts" those with existing diseases, as per the CPCB.

Meanwhile, the AQI at one of the busiest traffic crossings of Delhi, that is the ITO, it was "472 ' falling under the 'severe" category this morning, 484 at Anand Vihar, 470 at Mundka, 468 in Wazirpur and 465 at Okhla. PM10 levels below 100 g/m3 are considered safe in India.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences on Tuesday said that no quick recovery from the severe air pollution is in sight unless the wind speed improves and moisture content declines in the National Capital Region.

According to SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research) and India Meteorological Department (IMD), the air quality will continue to be in the "severe" category till Wednesday.

There was moderate fog in the morning which led to smog. The visibility in the city was reduced to 192 meters at 9 AM on Tuesday.

However, the transport-level wind direction has changed now, which is likely to reduce stubble intrusion.

India's environmental court has outlawed fireworks in the capital Delhi and other cities ahead of Saturday's carnival of lights, Diwali, amid fears that rising air pollution and toxic fumes will push new Covid-19 cases far beyond the current 8.5 million mark.

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