The pollution level in the national capital continues to deteriorate as the overall air quality stood in the “very poor” category on Sunday. The Air Quality Index (AQI) stands at 301, as per the latest figures updated by the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
SAFAR estimates updated at 7.30 am on Sunday showed Chandni Chowk to be the most polluted area in the national capital with an AQI of 336 in the 'very poor' category. This was followed by Dhirpur Road, Mathura Road with an AQI of 318, 315 respectively, again in 'very poor' category while Delhi University and Indira Gandhi International Airport (Terminal-3) had an AQI of 310 and 304 respectively.
Major pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 docked at 203 and 214 respectively, both in the ‘poor’ category, in Lodhi Road area, according to the Air Quality Index (AQI) data. Adjoining Uttar Pradesh’s Noida recorded “very poor” air quality with the AQI standing at 319.
According to SAFAR, an AQI between the range of 0 to 50 is considered good, 51 to 100 is considered as 'satisfactory', 101-200 is 'moderate', 201-300 falls under the category of 'poor'. While 300-400 is considered as 'very poor', levels between 401-500 fall under the 'severe/hazardous' category.
The Supreme Court in mid-December ordered the Centre and the Delhi government to set up a 'smog tower' pilot project for which it gave the government a time period of three months. The pilot project will be set up Connaught Place in Delhi. These 'smog towers' would mainly act as large scale air purifiers to address the menace of air pollution.
The Supreme Court bench refused to agree with the authorities who had asked for a time till August-September 2020 as the apex court had said it "doesn't want to waste another year". Additional Solicitor General (ASG) ANS Nadkarni, who represented the Centre, asked for a time extension since setting up a smog tower under the pilot project would require at least six months. On the other hand, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who was the representative of the Delhi government said that setting up a smog tower would require nearly nine months.