The city woke up to a thick blanket of smog this morning and the pollution levels breached the ‘hazardous’ category mark in the national capital two days before Diwali.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) around Mandir Marg recorded PM 10 levels at 707 and PM 2.5 at 663, while PM 10 levels were 681 and 676 around Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, respectively, news agency ANI tweeted.
The System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) Saturday had predicted deterioration of air quality in the city from Monday.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 "satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.
PM2.5 are fine particles that can penetrate the lungs and cause respiratory diseases. Visibility on the roads was low this morning, as against Sunday when air quality significantly improved due to increased wind speed and control measures implemented by the government.
"The AQI (air quality index) is predicted to be in the lower range of very poor today as the atmosphere is relatively clean," an official of the centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research or SAFAR told news agency Press Trust of India.
Meanwhile, schools in Delhi have moved the morning assembly of students indoors and has made it mandatory for them to wear masks during outdoor activities. Few schools in the NCR region have also started distributing gooseberries to students, which, according to health experts, minimize effects of air pollution on lungs.
The DPCC has directed the transport department and the traffic police to intensify checking of polluting vehicles and control road congestion till November 10. Construction work involving excavation is banned; no stone-crushers and hot-mix plants that generate dust can be run at this time.
D Saha, former additional director and head of air quality management division at the CPCB, said no drastic change in pollution level is anticipated as the ground level emissions are under control due to administrative and regulatory measures. "We are likely to have a clean Diwali," he said.>