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Pollution levels continue to deteriorate, Delhi government issues health advisory

The Air Quality Index of Delhi shot up from 352 on Sunday to 362 on the scale of 500 on Monday. The levels of particulate matter have also been increasing since Saturday.

delhi Updated: Nov 27, 2017 22:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Delhi,delhi news,pollution delhi pollution
The Air Quality Index of Delhi shot up from 352 on Sunday to 362 on the scale of 500 on Monday. The levels of particulate matter have also been increasing since Saturday. (Sushil Kumar/Hindustan Times)

The Delhi government on Monday issued a health advisory, urging schools to avoid outdoor activities during morning in the wake of apprehensions that air pollution may rise over the next three days. The government has also advised citizens to avoid going out for morning walks and going to polluted zones during peak hours.

The Air Quality Index of Delhi shot up from 352 on Sunday to 362 on the scale of 500 on Monday. The levels of particulate matter have also been increasing since Saturday.

Data gathered at stations in Delhi Technological University, Anand Vihar and RK Puram, showed the air quality in the severe zone throughout Monday.

“Winter is almost here and the mercury is dipping. It is mainly the fall in temperature and the low wind speed that is pushing up the pollution levels. The high moisture level is trapping the pollutants and the slow winds are not being able to flush them out. Pollution is increasing as a cumulative effect,” said Mohan P George, scientist in-charge of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s air quality monitoring wing.

On Monday, the mercury dropped to 9 degrees Celsius in the early hours. On Friday, it had dropped to 7.6 degrees – the lowest temperature recorded in the month of November in 11 years. Even though the night temperature has increased marginally since Friday, it is still a degree below the climatic normal.

The Indian Meteorological Department has already forecast that shallow fog could engulf Delhi over the next three to four days at least.

“Fog results when there moisture levels are high and the wind speed is very low. This is an ideal condition for the pollution to build up,” said a senior official of the regional weather forecasting centre in New Delhi.

At around 8 pm on Monday, the levels of both PM10 and PM2.5 were hovering at least 3.5 times above the safe standards. Pollution is said to be in severe zone if the levels of these two dominant pollutants in Delhi’s air shoots up five times the safe standards.

SAFAR, the country’s official pollution forecasting system maintained by the union ministry of earth sciences, has forecast that the air quality could deteriorate further over the next two to three days.

“Levels of both PM10 and PM2.5 are likely to shoot up over the next three days. The drop in wind speed and high moisture levels will aggravate conditions by the end of this month,” said Gufran Beig, project director of SAFAR.

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 22:50 IST