NEW DELHI: Delhi's air quality slips to 'very poor' category on Friday due to reduced wind speed and the national capital witnessed a hazy morning as a thick blanket of smog engulfed the region.
Delhi's air quality was recorded in the 'poor' category on Wednesday and Thursday with increased wind speed which helps in cleansing the air.
According to the report from the System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) in the city was 348, which falls in the 'very poor' category.
“The air quality may improve in the next two days under the influence of light rain “, SAFAR said.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered as “good”, 51-100 as “satisfactory”, 101-200 as “moderate”, 201-300 as “poor”, 301- 400 as “very poor”, and 401-500 as “severe”.
According to the report from the Central Pollution Control Board, Mundka, ITO and Nehru Nagar recorded 'severe' air quality, while 30 areas recorded 'very poor' air quality and four areas 'poor' air quality.
“The overall PM2.5 level (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) in Delhi was recorded at 247, while the PM10 level was at 396”, the CPCB added.
Taking cognizance of the prevailing situation, a bench headed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) Charman Justice Adarash Kumar Goel, on November 13, 2018, formed a committee to keep an eye on the activities leading to degradation of the environment.
The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) and the CPCB have deployed different teams across the Delhi NCR to monitor proper implementation of norms enforced to prevent pollution at the source.
If the air quality is in the very poor tier, stopping the use of diesel generator sets, increasing parking fees three to four times and increasing the frequency of Metro and bus services put into action.
If the air quality is in the moderate to poor tier- stopping garbage burning in landfills and other places, enforcing all pollution control regulations in brick kilns and industries would be implemented.
If the air quality falls in the emergency category, then measures like stopping entry of trucks into Delhi (except essential commodities), stopping construction activities, shutting of school and appointment of the task force to take the decision on any additional steps would be put into action.
If the air quality comes in the severe category, additional measures would be implemented of increasing frequency of mechanised cleaning of roads, the sprinkling of water on roads and identifying road stretches with high dust generation.
The University of Chicago has launched a new tool called Air Quality Life Index (AQLI). It will help to measure the impact of toxic air quality on people and quantifies air quality data as the number of years lost to air pollution.
According to this data, Indians will lose an average of 4.3 years of their life due to air pollution.
On December 3, 2018, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had asked the Delhi government to deposit Rs 25 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for their failure to curb the problem of pollution in the city.
On December 18, 2018, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said his government is mulling over a new electric vehicle policy to reduce pollution in the national capital.
The new policy was developed to tackle pollution in the national capital comes at a time when air quality in the region has deteriorated owing to the onset of winter.
People residing in Delhi and National capital are reeling under the impact of breathing polluted air due to vehicular pollution, crop residue burning and climate change. They are using mask and scarves to cover their nose from the cocktail of dust and smog.
The medical practitioners across the city have advised people, who are suffering from breathing difficulties to avoid outside activities and recommended to use the mask.
They also advised that to drink enough water to avoid dehydration and have fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain antioxidant to boost the immunity.