Asia Minute: Urgent Air Quality Issues on Diwali

08 November, 2018, 01:12 | Author: Harriet Bell
  • Delhi air pollution,air emergency in Delhi,air pollution

Delhi's air quality Wednesday oscillated between "poor" and "very poor" categories as authorities warned of severe deterioration of air quality even if "partial toxic crackers" are burned compared to previous year.

As Delhiites celebrated Diwali on Wednesday, air pollution levels during the day were down compared to earlier this week.

"The prevailing meteorological conditions are less favorable for dispersal of pollutants for next two days due to low wind speed across the northern region", Dr. Gufran Beig, Project Director at System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) told the media.

AQI between 0-50 is considered "good", 51-100 "satisfactory", 101-200 "moderate", 201-300 "poor", 301-400 "very poor" and 401-500 "severe". Kota had the most polluted air in the state with highest level of AQI.

In NCR, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida recorded "severe" pollution levels while Gurgaon recorded "very poor" air quality, CPCB data showed.

Wind direction changed a couple of days ago and it was coming from the eastern direction which meant it was not coming directly from Punjab and Haryana region where stubble burning is prevalent.

"The highest levels of PM10 and PM2.5 are expected between 11 AM to 3 AM on Wednesday and Thursday".

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It had permitted the court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) to take pre-emptive steps under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) without strict adherence to pollution stages delineated in the plan.

Delhi authorities have stepped up efforts to combat pollution which includes measures like halting construction activities and regulating traffic.

Levels of PM2.5 and PM10 were recorded at 145 and 247, respectively.

The recommendation was made in view of the heavy pollution caused by such vehicles which might add to the woes of the national capital which is already battling alarming levels of pollution, another CPCB official said.

Similarly, the 24-hour average of PM 2.5 at 6 p.m. was recorded at 145 micrograms per cubic metre, putting it in the very poor category.

Tourists, including foreigners, visiting Delhi ahead of Diwali complained of having a tough time due to increasing air pollution in the city, with some even cutting short their trips citing health concerns.

Delhi residents were bracing for the fall-out from Diwali, one of the year's biggest Hindu festivals, which is expected to add to the chronic air pollution problem in the Indian capital. Other complaints included that of vehicular emission, traffic congestion, industrial emission, open or garbage burning, leaf burning, road dust, unpaved road, fire in landfill sites, air pollution from generators among others, it said.

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