With 499 AQI, Delhi Wakes Up To ‘Severe’ Air Quality

Story Highlights
  • Delhi's air quality plunges to 'severe' category.
  • Locals are advised to avoid outdoor activities.
  • Government suggested implementing Graded Response Action Plan for Delhi-NCR.

New Delhi: A thick layer of smog shrouded the Delhi-NCR region on Saturday, with air pollution levels being the season’s worst. The capital’s Air Quality Index was at 499, one below the 500-mark, in the ‘severe’ category, according to the Ministry of Earth Science’s air quality monitor, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR). According to the government agencies, an AQI between 401-500 is marked as severe/hazardous. At 6 AM today, the concentrations of the particulate matter (PM) with a diameter of 10 and 2.5 microns clocked at 541 and 349 respectively, both falling in the ‘severe’ category, according to the Centre-run pollution monitoring system.

On Friday, when Delhi recorded an AQI of 471 authorities had issued an advisory asking people to limit outdoor activities and told government and private offices to cut vehicle use by at least 30%. The Graded Response Action Plan committee had said that “concerned agencies must be in complete readiness for implementation of measures under ’emergency’ category'”. The measures to be followed in the ’emergency’ situation include stopping the entry of trucks in Delhi, ban on construction activities and introducing the odd-even car rationing scheme.

The situation in Delhi has been exacerbated by the farm fires, which according to authorities accounted for 35% of the pollution on Friday. According to an analysis by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, people in Delhi breathe the worst air between November 1st and November 15th every year. The city has recorded severe air quality on 6 of the last 8 days after Diwali. Meanwhile, Noida in Uttar Pradesh also recorded ‘severe’ air quality with the concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 particles standing at 772 and 523 respectively. Haryana’s Gurugram, too, witnessed ‘severe’ air pollution level.

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