Delhi air quality ‘very poor’, weather conditions slightly favourable for pollutant dispersion

Delhi air quality ‘very poor’, weather conditions slightly favourable for pollutant dispersion

With Delhi's air quality remaining "severe" for the fourth consecutive day today, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the "odd-even" auto rationing scheme may be reintroduced if the need arises. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), air quality index (AQI) showed a "severe" level of 450. At 409 on Tuesday, the air quality index (AQI) relented from the 448 on Monday when officials announced curbs on construction activity for two days as an emergency measure. "Approval of new sections of the Delhi Metro has also been delayed for four years and was done only under pressure from the Centre and the BJP Opposition", Mr. Gupta claimed.

The air quality at certain places in Delhi-NCR showed considerable improvement. The air quality will remain in the very poor range for the next three days.

He convened a high-level meeting here to review the implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), which was mandated by the Supreme Court to combat and mitigate air pollution in Delhi in view of the prevailing meteorological conditions in the whole of northern India.

The overall PM2.5 level (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometre) was recorded at 220 and the PM10 level at 341 here, the CPCB said. An index value higher than 400 is categorised "severe".

In a health advisory, SAFAR has asked citizens of Delhi not to rely on common dust masks for protection.

Experts have predicted that the air quality will continue to oscillate between the "very poor" and "hazardous" category till next week because of not so favourable weather conditions. On Saturday, the task force had advised against usage of private cars, especially those running on diesel, and asked people, especially those with respiratory ailments, to avoid exposure to this toxic air.

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"If the room has windows, close them, if the air conditioner provides a fresh air intake option then choose it, avoid burning anything such as wood, candle or even an incense", it said.

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.

Kejriwal said that the Delhi government is taking several steps.

"It is just that dispersal (of pollutants) is not happening because of the meteorological conditions". The index was 5,500 sqm/second Wednesday, the IITM said.

"But the good news is that speed of surface wind has improved, which may help in dispersing the pollutants", he said. A ventilation index lower than 6,000 sqm/second, with an average wind speed less than 10 kmph, is unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants.

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