New Delhi: As a thick blanket of haze and dust enveloped Delhi and parts of the National Capital Region (NCR), the air quality nosedived to the “severe” level. The pollution masks are back and people have been advised to stay at home as the dusty conditions are likely to prevail for the next few days. The heat remains gruelling and the minimum temperature this morning was five notches above normal. The pollution in Delhi has been worse than the last smog episode in November last year.
“There will be strong dust raising winds throughout the day. This will continue on Friday as well,” an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.
According to MeT department, the wind speed of 25-35 kilometres per hour has been predicted for the day. The humidity level was 49 per cent this morning and the maximum temperature is expected to be around 41 degrees Celsius.
The PM10 level, presence of particles with diameter less than 10mm, was beyond severe at 796 in Delhi-NCR and 830 in Delhi particularly, leading to hazy conditions.
According to the CPCB, the air quality index (AQI) — a measurement of the concentration of toxic particulate matter in the air — at several places in Delhi remained beyond the 500-mark, with east Delhi’s Anand Vihar area recording a PM10 level of 929 and PM2.5 level of 301 this morning.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered “Good”, 51-100 “Satisfactory”, 101-200 “Moderate”, 201-300 “Poor”, 301-400 “Very Poor”, and 401-500 “Severe”.
All major construction agencies, municipal corporations and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) have been to ensure water sprinkling to mitigate the impact.
The Environment Ministry has attributed the dusty conditions to an upshot of dust storms from Rajasthan.
The air quality in Delhi deteriorated beyond the “severe” level because of a ground-level dust storm in western India which increased coarser particles in the air, the Central Pollution Control Board data showed.
The CPCB also said the pollution of this season was different from November last year when both PM2.5 and PM10 had spiked. However, the current increase in levels of pollution is mainly due to drastic increase in coarse particles in air which has caused a spike in PM10 level but PM2.5 is not as high as that of last year.