The air quality in the national capital on Thursday morning plunged to "severe levels" for the second consecutive day, said System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR). The air quality index (AQI) in the city was recorded at 407 at 8:00 am.
SAFAR has advised people to take more breaks and avoid doing intense activities. 'Sensitive Groups' are also advised to reduce prolonged or heavy exertion. The asthmatics have been advised to keep medicines ready if symptoms of coughing or shortness of breath occur. "Heart patients, see the doctor, if get palpitations, shortness of breath, or unusual fatigue," it stated in its advisory.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered "good", 51-100 "satisfactory", 101-200 "moderate", 201-300 "poor", 301-400 "very poor" and 401-500 "severe". An AQI above 500 falls in the "severe-plus" category. At Dhirpur, the AQI was 352 at 8:00 am, while in Mathura Road it was 424. The AQI near Chandni Chowk, Airport Terminal 3 and Delhi University stood at 448, 305 and 367 respectively.
The deterioration in air quality is being attributed to slow wind speed and falling temperatures. Last week the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had said during a review meeting that December and January have seen a number of days in the "very severe" category in the last three years and a similar situation may occur this year as well unless timely and adequate field-level preventive action is taken by implementing agencies. It asked them to intensify enforcement activities in hot spots and industrial areas and recommended people to minimize the use of private vehicles.
N K Gupta, Additional Director, CPCB, had pointed out that a large number of incidents of construction and demolition activities and open dumping of garbage were being reported from some parts of Delhi and neighbouring towns such as Ghaziabad and Faridabad.
(With ANI inputs)