All departures at Delhi airport were stalled for an hour on Tuesday morning after thick fog enveloped the national capital leading to low visibility on the runway. Minimum visibility required for takeoff is 125 meters.
With this last minute disturbance in aerodrome operations, a handful of commuters complained on social media platforms that their travel plans on Christmas would be affected.
Delhi, along with other metropolitan states, has been reeling under bouts of pollution for the last couple of days as the notoriously sub-standard air quality has become even more pernicious. Sulfur Oxides, dust and soot are a growing threat for scores of people residing in Delhi.
According to Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), a thick blanket of smog has engulfed the region on Tuesday as the air quality has plummeted to the hazardous category with 423 in the morning.
At Lodhi road, the AQI (Air Quality Index) was 315 with PM (Particulate Matter) 2.5 at 8.30 am. In the Wazirpur area, the air quality also dipped to the severe category with 400. Also in capital's posh locality Mathura road adjacent to Purana Qila, the AQI fell to 344 with PM 2.5.
Experts have predicted that the air quality will continue to oscillate between the 'very poor' and 'hazardous' category till next week because of not so favourable weather conditions.
The minimum and maximum temperatures in Delhi are 6 degree Celsius and 22 degree Celsius, respectively. Moderate fog will prevail throughout the region with wind speed 11 kilometers per hour and humidity 57 per cent.
"Due to remnant moisture over parts of northwest India shallow to moderate fog with isolated dense fog likely over some parts of northwest India during next 24 hours. Minimum temperatures very likely to fall by 2-3 degree Celsius over many parts of northwest, central and west India during next three-four days," the Indian Meteorological Department said.
Not just Delhi, as many as 70 Indian cities from North to South are reeling under air pollution, according to the latest Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) analysis. From October 22 to October 29, none of the 70 cities breathed good quality air.
Some of the major cities of which Air Quality Index was measured were Amravati, Asansol, Bangalore, Chennai, Chikkaballapur, Haldia, Howrah, Hubbali, Kolkata, Panchkula, Rohtak, Lucknow, Kanpur, Thiruvananthapuram, Tirupati and Vijayawada.