The air quality of Delhi continued to stay stagnant at ''very poor'' for the third consecutive day on Friday. Experts suggest only worse times to come as the AQI is likely to further deteriorate to ''severe'' category in some parts of the city by Saturday. According to the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR), the overall air quality index (AQI) of Delhi was recorded at 388 on Friday, against Thursday's 334. As Delhi steps into the peak of its winter season, weather experts say that the cold, dense winter air leads to more pollutants being trapped near the ground.
The SAFAR model attributes the rise in AQI to a decrease in ventilation due to surfacing of calmer winds in the coming days which would now be conducive for the pollutant accumulation. "AQI is forecasted to stay at the border of very poor to the severe category until Saturday," SAFAR said.
Last week, the city had witnessed drastic improvement in the air quality due to mild rain showers hitting the Delhi-NCR region, after which the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi was at 97 with PM 10 at 56 and PM 2.5 at 62. As many as 400 fire personnel were deployed to spray over five lakh liters of water in the city in a bid to tackle air pollution in November. The Delhi government has taken several steps to curb pollution, however, the situation has only gone downhill post-Diwali. The main cause has been the stubble burning in the neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana. The share of stubble burning in the states increased by 10 percent this week leading to a surge in the AQI yet again.
SAFAR has asked the people residing in Delhi to take appropriate precautions. It specifically asked the ‘Sensitive Group’ of people to avoid activities that can cause exertion. In its advisory, it asked the asthmatic people to do less intense workout, seek medical attention if required. The advisory also stated that if a person has heart palpitations with severe shortness of breath, chest pain or fainting one should seek emergency medical attention. An Air Quality Index between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 is marked as severe/hazardous.