Published: Mon, October 29, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Delhi air quality remains poor, thick haze engulfs

Delhi air quality remains poor, thick haze engulfs

The Air Quality Index (AQI) clocked 381 - the season's worst till now.

The SAFAR also recorded high content of PM10 and PM2.5 in the air at 332 and 195 microgrammes per m3.

The Central Pollution Control Board recorded the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi at 350.

Among the most polluted regions in Delhi were Dwarka, Anand Vihar, Rohini, Mundaka, Bawana, Mathura Raod, Delhi Technical University, Jahangirpuri, Narela, Nehru Nagar, Delhi University North Campus, Punjabi Bagh, R.K. Puram, Sonia Vihar, Vivek Vihar and Wazirpur.

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In view of this and considering previous years' experience, the task force recommended a few additional measures as proactive steps to deal with the situation for consideration by the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority.

Authorities have attributed the deterioration of air quality to localised factors like construction activities and vehicular pollution as well as regional factors like pollution by stubble burning from neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

It also recommended intensifying efforts of transport department to check polluting vehicles and controlling traffic congestion.

Out of 48 monitored station across NCR (including Delhi), only four had "moderate to poor" air quality while 23 stations have "severe or severe-plus" air quality and 21 were "very-poor".

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The task force also issued an advisory to the public, asking them to avoid outdoor strenuous activities and minimise use of private vehicles. The report showed that the highest contribution since October 11 by stubble burning was seen on Friday at 36 per cent while on Saturday, about 32 per cent of pollution by PM2.5 was caused by stubble burning.

This is a major contributor to particulate matter less than 10 m in size, or PM10, in the ambient air, which has raised pollution worries in recent times because it silently lodges in the respiratory system.

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 most recent air pollution data from the World Health Organization released in March gave India the dubious distinction of having the world's 10 most polluted cities.

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Meanwhile, SAFAR issued a health advisory due to increased pollution levels in Delhi, urging people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children to avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. It also advised people to wear masks as a precaution.

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