Delhi wakes up to a hazy morning, ‘very poor’ air quality as visibility falls
Children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with conditions like diabetes and hypertension are at a higher risk of developing complications due to toxic air.Updated: Oct 31, 2017 12:05 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhii
Delhi woke up to a hazy morning on Tuesday, with monitoring stations across the national capital recording air quality as “very poor” as visibility fell below one kilometre.
According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (Safar), the levels of airborne particulate matter PM 10 was 289 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) and PM 2.5 171 µg/m3 on Tuesday morning.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) considers 100 µg/m3 for PM 10 and 60 µg/m3 for PM 2.5 the safe limit.
Visibility was at 900 metres, an Indian Metrological department (IMD) official said on Tuesday. The conditions would persist through the week, with shallow fog expected early morning.
A high moisture level of 96% added to the problem. “The high moisture level is increasing the pollution load because particles are getting trapped in the air,” the IMD official said.
Real-time data shows high pollution in several parts of Delhi, counted among the worst polluted cities of the world.
At Lodhi Colony, SAFAR recorded PM2.5 at 364, Mathura Road 359 and IGI Airport 350.
PM 2.5, particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, are tiny fragments produced by fossil fuel combustion and other industrial processes that can lodge deep into the lungs.
Prolonged exposure to these particles can cause respiratory and heart diseases. The WHO has declared polluted air a carcinogen.
The air quality index (AQI), calculated for 24 hours, was averaging 328 µg/m3 in Delhi a day before. It was worse for Noida at 332 and “severe” for Ghaziabad at 404 on Monday, the CPCB data shows.
Air quality is marked “very poor” if the AQI is between 300 and 400 µg/m3. Beyond that, it is “severe”.
Every year, Delhi’s air quality starts to worsen with the onset of winter, as weather conditions facilitate concentration of toxic gases and ultra-fine particles.
Delhi smog is out in full force today... pic.twitter.com/PkOFh2mupY— Kabir Taneja (@KabirTaneja) October 31, 2017
The maximum temperature on Tuesday was 30.2 degree Celsius and minimum 16.4, an IMD official said.
Experts say vehicular emissions and stubble burning by farmers in neighbouring states are primary reasons for the Capital’s poor air. Dust particles and construction activity, too, contributes to the pollution.
The Graded Response Action Plan to combat air pollution came into force for the first time this month. It involves taking measures such as a ban on garbage burning and firecrackers, closing brick kilns and mechanised sweeping of roads as air quality turns from ‘moderate’ to ‘poor’.
Children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with conditions like diabetes and hypertension are at a higher risk of developing complications due to toxic air.
Doctors advise against outdoor activities especially in early hours and suggest wearing masks when going out.
Check the air quality in your city with this real-time map
First Published: Oct 31, 2017 11:16 IST