Delhi’s air quality is once again in the category of ‘very poor’ and is likely to stay that way over the weekend amidst a spike in pollutants after an almost week-long moderate phase when a steady fall was observed in the average levels of suspended particulate matters.
The report about worsening air quality in the national capital comes amidst Chinese capital Beijing on Friday issuing its second-ever red alert for smog, which brings in force emergency measures like ‘odd-even’ restrictions on the movement of vehicles, a scheme which the Delhi government has lined up here from January 1.
In Delhi, the average levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 – fine particles that can enter into the respiratory system and cause damage – were, respectively, 218 and 359 micrograms per cubic metre as opposed to the safe limits of 60 and 100, an IMD official said. The World Health Organisation’s recommended maximum is 25.
WHO also considers the quantity of PM 2.5 as the best indicator of the level of health risks from air pollution.
“Air quality will fluctuate between poor and very poor. It is not as bad as last year due to fairly strong wind movement, essentially westerlies, which is aiding in dispersal of the suspended particulate matters,” said Dr SK Peshin, deputy director general, Meteorology.
An IMD official said that the situation is expected to persist over the weekend.
However, Peshin ruled out any possible development of heavy smog in the next few days although he said that “there may be an increase in fog on December 20 and 21”.