Friday, June 18, 2021

Delhi-NCR’s air quality on brink of ’emergency’; smog reduces visibility to 300 mts

Delhi woke up to a grey morning as an apocalyptic smog blotted out the sun from the sky and smudged landmarks from view with air quality inching closer to “emergency” levels on Tuesday.

Air quality monitoring stations at Mandir Marg, Punjabi Bagh, Pusa, Rohini, Patparganj, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Najafgarh, Sri Aurobindo Marg and Okhla Phase 2 maxed out – as air quality indexes hit the 500 mark, Central Pollution Control Board data showed.

The smog reduced the visibility to merely 300 meters in the morning affecting traffic, an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

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Delhi recorded an AQI of 487 at 9 am, which falls in the “severe” category. The neighbouring cities of Faridabad (474), Ghaziabad (476), Noida (490), Greater Noida (467), and Gurugram (469) also recorded “severe” air quality.

This is the sixth “severe” air day on the trot in Delhi. The city witnessed seven “severe” air days in November last year.

The levels of PM2.5 – finer particles which can even enter the bloodstream – in Delhi-NCR were 605 µg/m3 at 8 am – around ten times the safe limit of 60 µg/m3.

According to the IMD, Delhi recorded calm winds and a minimum temperature of 10.8 degrees Celsius on Tuesday morning. Calm winds and low temperatures trap pollutants close to the ground, while favourable wind speed helps in their dispersion.
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said action will be taken against those not complying with the ban on firecrackers under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act which included a jail term of up to six years

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