Delhi's air quality deteriorates slides towards 'severe'

Delhi's air quality deteriorates slides towards 'severe'

Air quality in Delhi and neighbouring areas deteriorated on Sunday, with most parts recording a "severe or severe-plus" level of pollution while the air in Faridabad in Haryana was 21 times more polluted than safety standards.

A haze engulfed Delhi, which continued to battle unsafe levels of pollution, as it recorded the worst air quality of this season during the day Sunday, officials said.

As the average air quality in the national capital region (NCR) inched towards severe levels, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday that the government has made a decision to initiate criminal prosecution against agencies which do not comply with the directives to check air pollution.

GRAP was implemented a year ago as well from October 15 by the Supreme Courtmandated Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority.

Delhi's air quality continued to remain "very poor" for the fourth consecutive day on Saturday, prompting the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research to issue separate advisories for people.

In Indian megacities, the premature deaths were 14,800, 10,500, 7,300, 4,800 and 4,800 in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai respectively.

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The highest AQI of this season was recorded on Friday at 361. If the air quality deteriorates further in the capital and falls to the "very poor".

The task force suggested discontinuing all construction activities between November 1 and November 10, involving excavation, stone crushers, and stone crushers that generate dust pollution. Both PM10 and PM2.5 are ultrafine particles, the dominant pollutants in Delhi.

The air quality index is a scale from 0 to 500. Now all eyes now are on Diwali when the pollution levels will increase even further.

Meanwhile, an inspection team led by Delhi Environment minister Imran Hussain Friday found "serious violations" in norms for dust control at the Pragati Maidan redevelopment site, following which the minister directed pollution control authorities to take strict action, the city government said. "The dominant pollutant of AQ Index is PM2.5 and PM10", the IITM said.

Persistent stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab and local polluting factors have already wreaked havoc, and now the weather conditions have also started to contribute in the increasing pollution levels. It also asked people to go for shorter walks instead of jogs and wear masks while stepping outside.

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