Diwali festival further threatens Delhi air quality

Diwali festival further threatens Delhi air quality

Delhi's air quality continues to alarm its citizen with it remaining in the very poor category on Friday despite several measures being implemented in the national capital ahead of Diwali, when massive pollution is expected to hit the city. Doctors have said the impact of air pollution on public health can be compared to smoking 15-20 cigarettes a day.

The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), weather forecasting body under Ministry of Earth Science, said the moisture in the air on Wednesday was normal, thus reducing the air holding capacity.

Coarser and highly unsafe PM2.5 or particles with diameter less than 2.5 mm continue to dominate the pollution factor in Delhi, and are still at least four times higher than the national standards and nine times the global standards.

On Monday, the AQI was recorded at severe category of 434, the highest of the season, it said.

In NCR, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida recorded "severe" pollution levels while Gurgaon recorded "very poor" air quality, CPCB data showed.

This scenario is likely to hold the locally generated crackers emissions within the NCT, slowing down the dispersion, resulting in increasing levels of PM2.5 and PM10 pollution, it said.

The ventilation coefficient is expected within 7000-8000 m2/s. Winds coming from north westerly direction bring influence of biomass burning pollutants in Delhi-NCR.

Shallow fog and haze during daytime is expected on Wednesday and Thursday, it said. Five fire tenders of Delhi Fire Service, as per PTI, on Monday, sprayed water on trees near NGT office, Delhi HC and Secretariat as part of its measures to control pollution. Civil construction has also been suspended in Delhi and other NCR districts, besides closure of all stone crushers and hot mix plants generating dust pollution.

Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) Chief Engineer Karunesh Garg said that it is good thing that Amritsar's AQI is recorded good on the Diwali eve.

At 2 p.m., the average particle pollutants across 35 regions of Delhi was 215 microgrammes per cubic meters, falling under the "very poor" category, against 257 or "severe" category at 9 a.m.

AQA India, a monitor of air quality in the country, tweeted: 'Delhi is now experiencing the worst AQI so far this year.

Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, the under secretary of state for the environment confirmed in a written statement to the Global Air Pollution conference that her government will start legislation for a new Environment Act by early 2019.

In the last 36 hours, air quality levels have improved, albeit only slightly, with ratings dropping from "emergency" to "severe".

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