New Delhi: For the very first time in this season, Delhi’s air quality on Thursday stepped into “very poor” category. Meanwhile, Air Quality Index (AQI) is about to reach “severe” category in several localities in the national capital.
On Thursday, the air quality index in Delhi read 313, primarily due to wind speed dropping to zero. Apart from wind speed, other factors amounting to drastic air quality include local emissions and stubble burning in neighbouring states, as per CPCB – who also predicted that pollution levels would rise over the next few days.
Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain has reportedly said that latest satellite images showed crop residue burning at “dangerous” levels. He asserted that it should be stopped immediately or entire north India, including Delhi, would suffer serious health hazards.
Hussain released the latest NASA image of north India and asked the people in the national capital to minimise local pollution while noting that there will be “zero tolerance” for garbage and crop residue burning. He also asked people to keep all construction material covered to stop dust re-suspension.
“It is high time crop residue burning in the fields must immediately be halted, failing which a serious health hazard awaits entire northern India,” the minister said in a statement.
“It is beyond any reasonable understanding as to why this menace is being ignored, despite a well-known fact that the consequences will be disastrous in the coming days,” the statement further read.
On October 15, Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) had rolled out the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
In past days, the air quality of national capital has got worse. According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting Research (SAFAR), air quality index (AQI) in Delhi was recorded as 300 at 4 pm on October 13. It was a drastic drop in air quality from October 12 – when the AQI scale in the national capital had touched 154.
In May 2018, National Capital was declared as the world’s most polluted city, by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for megacities with a population of 14 million or more.