Delhi Air Quality On The Brink Of Turning Severe, Say Authorities

On Monday, the index had turned "severe" in Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, and "very poor" in nearby Gurugram and Hapur.

This winter, we are witnessing a new trend in the capital that pollutants are being dispersed from one extreme much faster compared to a year ago.

Amid a rise in health-related problems due to increase in air pollution in the national capital, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan Thursday launched a manual on asthma detailing how school administrations must behave in case of an emergency.

There was shallow fog today in the national capital hampering visibility in the region that has already been facing "very poor" air quality.

According to the India Meteorological Department, the shallow fog in the morning mixed with the pollutants that lead to smog. The levels of pollution are "definitely" a danger to the public health, said Dahiya. But a sharp spike in smog on Monday morning - which recorded a reading of 365 on the Air Quality Index (AQI) - has effectively put the city's air in the "hazardous" category.

An official said there is special focus on the regions recording "severe" air quality. The PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) and PM10 concentrations touched 365 and 503 respectively, touching the "severe-plus emergency" category, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data.

She said: 'Wind speeds dropped to 15 kilometres per hour from 29 and there's a significant jump in crop stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana in the past few hours'. The Delhi government has also been asked to deploy 400 sprinklers as a backup to mitigate any crisis.

An official of the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research said intensified stubble burning is contributing almost 24 per cent of the air pollution in Delhi.

The Supreme Court appointed EPCA said that it is considering imposing more restrictions including a ban on truck entry in Delhi, if the air quality falls further.

"Continuous sources of pollution - industry, power plants, the way transport is, the way our waste management is" are the "four or five consistent sources of pollution are [there] all around the year", he says. Cloud seeding is the process of combining different kinds of chemical agents - including silver iodide, dry ice, and even common table salt - with existing clouds in an effort to thicken the clouds and increase the chance of rain or snowfall.

"This is mainly due to weather conditions as stubble contribution is marginal now".

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On Sunday, a total fine of Rs 83,55,000 was imposed on violators by the teams deployed to monitor implementation of measures to combat pollution in the Delhi NCR under the campaign.

  • Joey Payne