Air quality in Delhi remains very poor; situation may worsen next week

A farmer walks through smoke caused by farming waste set on fire at Palwal in the state of Haryana

A farmer walks through smoke caused by farming waste set on fire at Palwal in the state of Haryana

The eight areas that recorded "severe" air quality Saturday are Anand Vihar, Dwarka Sector 8, Narela, Punjabi Bagh, Bawana, Mundaka, Vivek Vihar and Rohini.

The average concentration of PM2.5 and PM10 in Delhi were 217 and 402 units, while in NCR they were 236 and 394 units.

A Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Authority warned on Thursday that air pollution in the capital region is likely to peak from November 1 as toxic fumes from the burning of agricultural fields in the neighboring northern states of Haryana and Punjab could blow in because of a change in wind direction. The highest AQI of this season was recorded Friday at 361.

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With more than half of the national capital suffering a "severe or severe-plus" air quality, Delhi and the regions around it saw a sudden spike in effluents on Sunday, with Faridabad's air 25 times more polluted than safety standards. In the NCR, Ghaziabad and Gurugram already recorded "severe" pollution levels, while Noida and Greater Noida breathed "very poor" air. An AQI between O and 50 is said to be good, 51 and 100 satisfactory, 101 and 200 moderate, 201 and 300 poor, 301 and 400 very poor and 401 and 500 severe.

The CPCB has issued health advisories and recommended stringent measures from November 1 to 10 forecasting further deterioration in air quality ahead of Diwali.

Some of these recommendations include a shutdown of coal and biomass factories, intensification of inspection by the transport department to check polluting vehicles and control traffic congestion in Delhi-NCR during November 1-10. "The latest data of stubble burning and the AQI has vindicated it", said Kahan Singh Pannu, secretary, agriculture, state nodal officer of the anti-stubble burning campaign. "Only 19 per cent pollution of PM2.5 would be caused by stubble burning on Sunday".

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Residents have been advised not to venture out for jogs and run in the first ten days of November as toxic fumes from the stubble-burning regions of Punjab and Haryana could gush in because of a change in wind direction.

In July, according to a new study which ranked the national capital third in a list of cities reporting most deaths due to air pollution, it was revealed that almost 15,000 people died prematurely in Delhi due to pollution by fine particulate matter in 2016.

Experts have projected that air quality may dip further in the coming days, especially from the beginning of the next month, due to adverse weather conditions and approaching winter. In fact, residents have also been asked to keep their windows shut and wear masks.

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Meanwhile, SAFAR also gave a health advisory to public due to increasing pollution levels.

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