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Delhi's air quality ‘steadily deteriorating’, says Kejriwal; reason to worry

Delhi's air quality slipped to 298 in ‘poor’ category on Sunday raising the yearly alarm for its residents.
Delhi's air quality has been deteriorating to 'very poor' category. (Picture for representation only/HT_PRINT)
Published on Oct 17, 2021 10:35 PM IST
Byhindustantimes.com | Written by Sharmita Kar | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, New Delhi

Delhi’s air quality has dropped to ‘very poor’ levels and is “steadily deteriorating”, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday, raising the alarm for the national capital as a thick blanket of the dreadful smog envelopes the city sky. With winter approaching and pollution levels rising to dangerous levels like every year, people have turned their attention towards the air quality index (AQI), largely affected by unfavourable environmental factors, along with vehicular fumes and stubble burning.

According to the pollution data by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) at 4pm today, Delhi’s air quality slipped to 298 in the ‘poor’ category, deteriorating day by day. Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai earlier pointed out that the AQI in the city was 171 till October 13 that rose to 284 due to stubble-burning in the neighbouring states.

Hitting out at the neighbouring states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the Kejriwal blamed them for the rise in pollution now and appealed to them to "understand" their responsibility and help the farmers dispose of their stubble.

The chief minister said that the Delhi government controlled the air pollution and the rise in the air pollution in the city now is because of the stubble burning in the neighbouring states. Kejriwal had on Saturday shared a map showing stubble fires across north India.


"Delhi's own pollution, including vehicles and industries, is within the safe limit. I have been tweeting pollution data in Delhi for the last 1 month. Pollution has started increasing from the last 3-4 days, it is the pollution of stubble, which is burning in the surrounding states," Kejriwal said while inaugurating a hospital in Shalimar Bagh.

The chief minister further highlighted the Delhi government’s efforts to control the pollution and said that the government made a solution which “if you sprinkle it on the stubble, there is no need to burn it thereafter".

How to measure air quality index (AQI)

In India, air quality is measured on a 500-point scale where a 0-50 rating is considered good, while anywhere between 301-500 is considered dangerous. Here are the categories:

0-50: Good –  None to minimal impact

51-100: Satisfactory – People prone to health conditions may experience slight difficulty in breathing

101-200: Moderate – People with asthma, lung and heart diseases and other health conditions may experience difficulty in breathing. Children and the elderly may also face slight discomfort.

201-300: Poor – Can cause breathing difficulties in people if exposed for longer durations. People with asthma, lung and heart diseases and other health conditions are advised to stay indoors as much as possible.

301-400: Very poor – Prolonged exposure to these AQI levels can cause respiratory diseases. People with asthma, lung and heart diseases and other health conditions are particularly affected.

401-500: Severe – Extremely unhealthy air, can cause breathing difficulty while light physical exertion too. It can cause respiratory diseases in healthy persons as well as people with lung and heart conditions. Best to stay indoors.

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