Delhi's air quality on brink of turning severe: Authorities

People take desperate measures to fight polluted air. File

Delhi is seeing a cleaner spell as wind direction is south-easterly, reducing the impact of stubble burning.

Besides overpopulation and dust, one of the main reasons of increasing air pollution levels in Delhi is crop burning by the farmers in the neighboring states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. "The moisture intrusion over Delhi and surrounding regions due to the westerlies disturbances will increase with effect from November 4 to enhanced holding capacity of atmosphere resulting in increase in PM2.5 levels", the SAFAR website said.

On Wednesday, nearly all places in the NCR saw a drop in the the major pollutants PM2.5 and PM10 - particles in the air with diameters less than 2.5 mm and 10 mm respectively. Data according to CPCB's central control room showed Delhi NCR's average PM2.5 levels to be around 166 micrograms per cubic metre at 7pm on Saturday, while Delhi's average PM10 levels at the same time were around 315 micrograms per cubic metre. The PM10 reading in Delhi stood at 333, which is in the "poor" category.

"Air quality is likely to deteriorate on November 3 as a result of post westerly disturbances which are likely to hit over Western Himalayas today", SAFAR said. "The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) also spotted a large number of biomass fire spots through satellite imageries in neighboring states of Delhi", on Tuesday.

Authorities said the AQI of Delhi would remain in the upper range of the "very poor" category till November 5, and thereafter, it could see severe deterioration due to unfavourable meteorological conditions.

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Burning of farmlands in neighboring states of Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan, use of older and more polluting vehicles and unfavorable weather conditions with low-speed winds which have failed to disperse pollutants, have all contributed to this alarming situation.

From Thursday, there will be a halt of all construction activities involving excavation. As part of the emergency measures, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee has asked all stone crushers and hot mix plants to remain shut during the period.

The Delhi government told the Supreme Court on Thursday that out of 1.10 crore vehicles registered in the national capital, 40 lakh "overage" vehicles - more than 15 years in case of petrol and 10 years for diesel - have been de-registered by the transport department.

EPCA has ordered closing down the entire industrial area of Mundka in north Delhi from November 1 to November 10 while the municipal corporation clears plastic, rubber and other wastes. He emphasized the need for taking action which can lead to local containment of pollution and which is visible to the people.In addition to the above it was also directed that Government of Delhi shall immediately deploy 400 water sprinklers/ tankers as already committed.


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