NEW DELHI: The national capital witnessed a hazy morning as a thick blanket of smog engulfed the region and the air quality slips to ' Very poor' category on Friday due to high humidity because of light rains.
Weather experts said high humidity and reduced wind speed affect the dispersion of pollutants and lead to the formation of more potent secondary particles.
Secondary particles are products of complicated atmospheric reactions between primary particles, such as particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide directly emitted by stubble burning and vehicles, in the presence of other factors such as sunlight and moisture.
According to the report from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the overall Air Quality Index stood at 348 by 8:30 in the morning today.
On Thursday, the overall Air Quality Index stood at 283 in the morning which comes under –poor category.
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”.
Schools situated in Delhi reopened on Wednesday as air quality in the national capital improved significantly in the morning.
Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced the closure of schools till November 5 after pollution levels plunged to 'severe plus' category on last Friday.
A couple of students had worn anti-pollution masks while going to school to prevent themselves from falling prey to respiratory illness.
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.
Earlier, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority had said that local sources of pollution, including stack emissions, dust, and burning of plastic and rubber waste, were the primary reason for deteriorating air quality in Delhi-NCR.
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. If anybody experienced unusual coughing, chest discomfort, wheezing or fatigue, then consult the doctor.
They also advised that to drink enough water to avoid dehydration and have fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain antioxidants to boost immunity.
From October 15, stringent measures to combat the menace of air pollution had come into force in the national capital and its nearby regions as part of the Graded Response Action Plan.
This plan includes increasing bus and metro services, hiking parking fees and stopping the use of diesel generator when the air quality turns poor.
On last Friday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had distributed anti-pollution masks to school students along with deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.
Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that ‘Odd-Even scheme’ will be implemented in the national capital after Diwali, from November 4 to 15.
‘Odd-Even scheme ‘ is a flagship scheme of the Aam Aadmi Party government, aimed at combatting pollution. It was first implemented in 2015. The scheme entails cars with odd and even number plates to run on alternate days.
On Monday, the Supreme Court had banned stubble burning in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh in view of severe air pollution.
It also banned all construction and demolition activities along with burning of garbage and waste in Delhi-NCR in the region.
The apex also directed that all those carrying out construction and demolition activities would be fined one lakh rupees. A penalty of 5,000 rupees would be imposed if anyone was found burning garbage and waste in the region.
A bench comprising justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said in case of any violation, the local administration and zonal officers would be held responsible.
It asked the Delhi government and the civic bodies to chalk out a plan to ensure removal of the waste dumped at open spaces and come up with a scheme to deal with the issue.
Image credit: Business Standard