Dense fog to cover Delhi; air improves to 'very poor'

Dense fog to cover Delhi; air improves to 'very poor'”

With pollution reaching severe levels, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said that the Centre should call a meeting of Delhi's neighbouring states to discuss the issue as air doesn't follow a boundary and only one state can not check it. In view of the city's "severe" air quality, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) on Monday banned industrial activities in pollution hot spots and construction work across Delhi-NCR till Wednesday. Also, the Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded their second highest pollution levels this year on 23rd December at 450 AQI.

According to the state-run SAFAR, a thick blanket of smog engulfed the region on Tuesday morning as the air quality plummeted to the hazardous category with 423 in the morning.

Delhi's air quality improved slightly on Wednesday, climbing from "severe" category to "very poor" category after the Capital was forced to celebrate Christmas choking on Tuesday.

"It is just that dispersal (of pollutants) is not happening because of the meteorological conditions". In NCR, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Greater Noida and Noida recorded "very poor" air quality.

As the national capital battles "severe" air quality, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) reported a surge in the number of patients visiting the hospital with cardiac and respiratory diseases.

The SAFAR said Delhi's air quality is expected to deteriorate to "severe plus emergency" category after Diwali and the air quality "will be bad on November 8 even if partially toxic crackers are burned compared to last year".

A Delhi government official blamed the pollution for lighter-than-usual traffic on already holiday-thinned streets, while a Delhi airport official said some domestic and global flights were delayed for up to two hours due to poor visibility. "The forecasting model predicts a faster improvement due to faster dispersion".

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The AQI recorded 217 with PM (particulate matter) 2.5 at 557 and PM (particular matter) 10 at 747.

The low temperatures and high moisture level contributed to keeping pollution levels high on Tuesday.

He said the Delhi government was taking several steps for reducing pollution levels in the national capital.

He asked all the stakeholder departments and agencies to remain prepared to take mandated actions under the "very poor" and the "severe/ severe plus" categories of air quality index in Delhi.

The agencies concerned were also asked to increase surveillance on industrial waste dumping and burning, especially in the hotspots.

The advisory also recommended frequent wet mopping and use of masks known as N-95 or P-100 respirators only for outdoor activities.

From October 22 to October 29, none of the 70 cities breathed good quality air.

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