Delhiites struggle with worst air quality of the season

Delhi sees spike in effluents Faridabad's air 25 times more polluted

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The Central Pollution Control Board or CPCB recorded the overall air quality index in the national capital at 358 this morning, which falls in the "very poor" category. 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.

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

Twenty-nine monitoring stations located in different parts of the city recorded very poor air quality while four stations recorded severe air quality.

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.

Some of these recommendations include a shutdown of coal and biomass factories, intensification of inspection by the transport department to check polluting vehicles and control traffic congestion in Delhi-NCR during November 1-10.

Health experts with the task force have also recommended encouraging people to avoid prolonged exposure during the period to avoid health issues. The level of PM2.5, tiny particulate matter that can dangerously clog lungs, read 187, more than six times higher than the World Health Organisation considers safe.

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Siddharth Singh, representative from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), said Delhi's air quality which has deteriorated to very poor level would continue to remain in the same condition for the next few days.

Stubble-burning in Delhi's neighbouring Punjab and Haryana is now contributing to 20-30 per cent of the Capital's overall air-pollution, at a time when winds over Delhi are calm, officials said.

"On Thursday and Friday more stubble was burnt in Punjab and Haryana due to which its contribution to PM2.5 pollution increased", an official said, adding that the impact of pollution by stubble burning on the national capital could be seen only a day after the stubble is burnt. "Unless there are strong winds in the category of at least 20kmh, this pollution won't go away", said Mr Mahesh Palawat, vice-president of meteorology and climate change at Skymet Weather Services.

The pollution level in the national capital has deteriorated to alarming levels in the last two weeks. The residential bio-fuel emission declined significantly in Delhi at 64% since 2010, the report said.

The Central Pollution Control Board and SAFAR on Saturday issued separate advisories. In fact, residents have also been asked to keep their windows shut and wear masks.

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