Delhi issues health advisory as air quality dips

Delhi issues health advisory as air quality dips

The air quality in Delhi, which remained "very poor" for the fourth straight day on Monday, is set to nosedive further, leading to the Delhi government advising people to stay indoors as much as possible.

High moisture content and lack of winds have triggered the spike, the city government said. The Centre said it will take "harsh measures", if needed, to prevent any repeat of the recent smog episode.

The city government issued a health advisory urging people to avoid smoking and stepping out during early morning and late evening hours. It also appealed to residents to carpool and use public transport, and not to burn dry leaves, crop residue, wood, coal, etc.

The government asked schools to avoid outdoor assemblies, sports and other physical activities in early morning hours.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) registered Mondays's air quality index (AQI) at 362, 10 units more than Sunday's, on a scale of 500. The AQI takes into account levels of suspended particulate matter and gases like nitrogen dioxide.

An AQI between 301 and 400 is classified as "very poor" which can trigger respiratory illnesses on prolonged exposure.

The 24-hour average concentration (rolling) of PM2.5 and PM10 were 291 and 171 microgrammes per cubic metre (ug/m3) respectively at 8 pm, multiple times above the prescribed standards 60 and 100, as per readings of SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research).

During the day, levels of these ultrafine particulates were even higher. The CPCB monitors, essentially 17 of its stations located across the city, recorded the maximum levels of PM2.5 and PM10 at 224 and 353 ug/m3.

According to SAFAR, an agency under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, PM2.5 and PM10 levels will rise further over the next three days.

CPCB's air lab chief Dipankar Saha said winter is not taking root in the city due to fluctuating wind directions, northwest and west. Saha said wind direction from the north will soon stabilise and surface winds will gain momentum, leading to dispersion of pollutants.

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