Delhi air remains in ‘severe’ category, agencies swing into action with new measures

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New Delhi: The air quality in the national capital continued to remain in the “severe “category on the third straight day, as the Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded at 464 on Saturday at 10 AM.

The agency, however, said the air quality is likely to improve from the “Severe to Very Poor” category, with a wind speed 08-18 kph.

Meanwhile, the PM2.5 level in the national capital reached 237, and the PM10 level in Delhi was recorded at 397 both in the ‘very poor’ category, as per data from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).

The incident of stubble burning contributed 30 percent of the PM2.5 pollution in the capital on Saturday, data for SAFAR showed.

On Friday, SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) said that stubble-burning accounted for 34 per cent to Delhi’s particulate matter (PM) 2.5 pollution.

In the national capital region, the overall air quality also remains in the poor category,  Noida and Gurugram recorded an AQI of 529 and 478 respectively both in the highly toxic ‘severe’.

However, the forecast predicts that the condition of air quality in Delhi and nearby regions will continue to deteriorate further and expects improvement from November 5.

“Air quality is likely to remain within ‘Severe’ today and likely to improve tomorrow to ‘lower end of Severe’ and from 5th onwards air quality is likely to improve further to ‘Very poor’ due to upper-level wind reversal that prevents inflow of stubble-related pollutants. Higher surface wind speed on 5th Nov is likely to disperse pollutants,” said a press release.

In view of worsening air quality, the Delhi government on Friday announced that the schools will remain shut from Saturday. It also ordered 50 percent of its staff to work from home, while advising private offices to follow suit

The Commission for Air Quality Management also decided to implement measures under stage IV of the Graded Response Action Plan in view of the worsening air quality in the Delhi-NCR.

Under the Plan, ban on non-BS VI diesel-run light motor vehicles, including diesel trucks, would not be allowed entry into Delhi except for those carrying essential commodities or providing essential services.

However, all CNG and electric trucks would be allowed to enter Delhi, according to an order by the Transport Department.

If there is any violation of the ban on plying of certain vehicles owing to the rise in pollution will attract a penalty of Rs 20,000, as per a senior official.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court had also agreed to list for hearing on November 10 a public interest litigation seeking fresh guidelines on stubble burning.

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