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Delhi's air quality dips further, stands in 'poor' category
New Delhi, October 10, 2020
The air quality index of the national capital plummeted to 221 and stood in the "poor" category on Saturday, a day after improving a notch, with West Delhi recording the most polluted air, according to Central pollution Control Board (CPCB) data.
As per the CPCB, out of 35 pollution monitoring stations, the air quality index in as many as 24 stations is in the poor category, while 10 stations recorded the index in the moderate category, one was non-functional.
The area near West Delhi's Mundka recorded the highest AQI at 286. The System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) categorizes air quality in the 0-50 range as good, 51-100 as satisfactory, 101-200 as moderate, 201-300 as poor, 301-400 as very poor and above 400 as severe.
Delhi's neighboring areas, including Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Meerut and Gurugram have also recorded poor quality of air. Ghaziabad's air is currently the most polluted amongst all.
With stubble burning, the air pollution reaches a crescendo in Delhi-NCR every winter, when pollution from stubble burning combines with the suspended water droplets in the lower atmosphere to form a thick blanket of noxious smog, thus creating health hazards for the residents.
According to SAFAR, which comes under the aegis of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, particulate matter of the diameter of 2.5 micrometers which go deep into the smallest sacs within the human lungs and bloodstream is currently the main pollutant.
It also observed 253 stubble burning fires around Punjab, Haryana, and neighboring border regions. A shift in Delhi surface wind direction, northwesterly to southeasterly by October 12 is forecasted, which could influence air quality positively in the coming week.
"AQI is forecasted to marginally improve to the moderate category for tomorrow, further AQI is forecasted to improve by 12th October, but in the moderate category," the air forecasting system added.
Nationwide, as many as 20 cities have poor quality of air, including Agra, Kurukshetra, Lucknow, Yamunanagar, etc. Two cities -- Karnataka's Kalaburagi and Rajasthan's Bhiwadi have 'very poor' quality of air.
According to Delhi-based doctor Shuchin Bajaj, the pollution will cause a lot of issues to children and elderly, especially and with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The bad quality of air will increase the severity of the lung infections.
"This will lead to worse outcomes like pneumonia and breathlessness, tiredness and lack of energy in the Covid-19 patients, who have suffered. It will decrease the immunity of the community and will lead to more widespread Covid infections," Dr. Bajaj, Founder and Director of Delhi's Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals added.