Authorities issue advisory as air pollution worsens in Indian capital

Pablo Tucker
October 29, 2018

However, the air quality of the region continues to be in the "very poor" category making it hard for people to carry out outdoor activities.

In the NCR region, Ghaziabad and Gurgaon recorded severe pollution levels, while Noida and Greater Noida recorded very poor air quality.

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.

According to the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research, the pollution is likely to increase to the upper levels of very poor but will not touch "severe" level for the next two days.

The Central Pollution Control Board recorded the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi at 350.

According to the data from the Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) monitoring station, the major effluent PM2.5 or particles with diameter less than 2.5mm was 1,515 microgrammes per cubic metres at 10 am, which dropped to 1,295 units by 3 pm.

It has recommended avoiding outdoor strenuous exercises, minimal use of private vehicles to reduce exposure to toxic air.

The warning comes a day after air pollution shot up on Wednesday due to unfavourable weather, including low temperatures, calm winds and cloudy skies.

Stubble-burning in Delhi's neighbouring Punjab and Haryana is now contributing to 20-30 per cent of the Capital's overall air-pollution, at a time when winds over Delhi are calm, officials said. "The dominant pollutant of AQ Index is PM2.5 and PM10", the IITM said. The stations recording the worst levels (AQI level above 400) included Mathura Road, Rohini, Mundka, Anand Vihar, Narela, Dwarka Sector 8, Bawana, Vivek Vihar and Sonia Vihar.

It also asked people to go for shorter walks instead of jogs, keep windows closed and wear masks while stepping outside.

The most recent air pollution data from the World Health Organization released in March gave India the dubious distinction of having the world's 10 most polluted cities.

The health advisory is specifically for people suffering from heart or lung disease, older adults and children to avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.

Environment researcher Kanchi Kohli said that pollution from construction activity is not a seasonal phenomenon.

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