March 20, 2019

Delhi chokes in toxic fumes, may get worse towards Diwali

29 October 2018, 04:46 | Dale Webster

A farmer walks through smoke caused by farming waste set on fire at Palwal in the state of Haryana

A farmer walks through smoke caused by farming waste set on fire at Palwal in the state of Haryana

The overall Air Quality Index of the national capital was recorded at 381 which falls in the very poor category, the highest of this season and just points below severe pollution level NEW DELHI: Delhi recorded its worst air quality of this season on Sunday as a thick haze engulfed the national capital which continued to grapple with deteriorating air quality.

According to the data collated by the CPCB, Ghaziabad (404) recorded a severe pollution level, while Gurugram (399), Faridabad (376), Noida (385) and Greater Noida (391) all battled a "very poor" air quality on Saturday.

"Stop any activity level if you experience any unusual coughing, chest discomfort, wheezing, breathing difficulty", said System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting Research (SAFAR) in its website.

A total 22 areas of Delhi had a "very-poor" air quality.

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.

The most recent air pollution data from the World Health Organisation released in March said India was one of the world's 10 most polluted countries.

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

Fugitive dust from construction and demolition (C&D) work is also said to be a major reason for air pollution in Delhi-NCR.

A PM2.5 pollution score is used to measure the amount of tiny particulate matter which can dangerously clog lungs.

Air quality in the national capital is gradually inching towards the "severe" category, largely due to stubble-burning in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana.

"Pollution would reduce in the next couple of days if the weather condition remains the same".

"This is owing to stagnation conditions forced by calm winds with low ventilation and moderate stubble injection", according to the SAFAR. Both PM10 and PM2.5 are ultrafine particles, the dominant pollutants in Delhi. The stations recording the worst levels (AQI level above 400) included Mathura Road, Rohini, Mundka, Anand Vihar, Narela, Dwarka Sector 8, Bawana, Vivek Vihar and Sonia Vihar.

Government authorities have issued warning for Delhiites, advising to keep windows shut, wear masks, prefer short walks, minimise use of private vehicles to battle against the unsafe levels of air pollution in the city.

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