New Delhi: As Delhi’s air quality dropped to ‘severe’ category on Sunday after being ‘very poor’ for four consecutive days, the authorities in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) including Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) have issued a warning that any trigger in the form of firecrackers on New Year’s Eve or rise in vehicular emission would worsen Capital’s air pollution situation.
The CPCB data on Monday showed that Delhi recorded an overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of 418 at 4 pm which is considered ‘severe’ while the recommended AQI is anything below 100. The major air pollutants were PM 2.5 and PM 10.
According to the CPCB data, 27 areas in the national capital recorded ‘severe’ pollution, while seven witnessed ‘very poor’ air quality. In the NCR, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon (Gurugram) and Noida recorded ‘severe’ air quality, while Faridabad recorded ‘very poor’ quality air.
The overall PM2.5 level (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometer) was recorded at 328 and the PM10 level at 488 in Delhi, the CPCB said.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) and the SAFAR said the air quality is likely to remain in the ‘severe’ category till Wednesday owing to low temperature and low wind speed, which is highly unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants.
However, the SAFAR said the air quality can improve slightly provided that no additional local emissions are added on New Year’s Eve. It said,
The deterioration in moisture-laden wind speed from west may become fatal at this stage and any new trigger, in terms of local emission, particularly from open fires, firecrackers and burning of fossil fuels (vehicular pollution) will fast deteriorate the air quality and keep it in the ‘severe’ category.
The SAFAR also pointed out that a consistent day-night trend has been observed for the past one week. “During night, combination of calm wind and colder conditions is elevating the pollution level, where in many locations, 24-hour rolling average (AQI) is touching ‘severe’ levels for a few hours, whereas during the day, wind speed is picking up slightly and temperature is increasing to keep the level in the ‘very poor’ range,” it said.
In view of the ‘severe’ pollution level plaguing the national capital, an emergency meeting was convened by CPCB-led task force where it directed implementing agencies of Delhi-NCR to take action with “zero tolerance” to waste burning and construction activities. The task force has reiterated its call to strictly implement the Supreme Court order on bursting of firecrackers on New Year Eve.
Owing to high pollution levels in Delhi, last week, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) reported a surge in the number of patients visiting the hospital with cardiac and respiratory diseases.
Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS, said,
Whenever Delhi’s air quality deteriorates, we see a rise in the number of patients visiting OPDs or cases of emergency admission with respiratory or cardiac related problems. At AIIMS, we have observed that there is about 15 to 20 per cent rise in such cases. Mainly children, elderly citizens and patients with cardiac problems suffer the most when air quality is poor.
(With Inputs From Agencies)
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