For 2nd day, Delhi in severe air pollution category

A view of the haze engulfed city as air quality deteriorates, in New Delhi, on Wednesday. About 44 joint teams from various agencies will be deployed from November 01, 2018, to check air pollution in the national capital as the air quality in the city nos

As Delhi and its four satellite towns experienced a “severe category” air pollution for the second consecutive day, a Supreme Court-mandated high-powered panel on Wednesday ordered implementation of seven measures to improve air quality.

The measures included stopping construction works and shutting down Mundka industrial area in west Delhi.

A thick layer of dust and soot particles blanketed the national capital region, causing a burning sensation in the eyes and breathing troubles for those who were on the road.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board's air quality index, Delhi recorded a AQI of 401, which puts the city's air quality in the “very severe” category.

Each of the satellite cities too were in the “very severe” category with an AQI of more than 400— which indicates breathing the air is dangerous for health.

Ghaziabad in the eastern fringe has the worst air quality with a AQI of 451 followed by Gurugram (426) and Faridabad (413) in the south and Noida (406) in the east.

The surrounding towns like Hapur (406), Baghpat (401) and Bulandsahar (414) are equally bad.

“Delhi/NCR is facing such a situation induced by the agricultural residue burning and adverse meteorological conditions. Increased biomass burning is observed in different satellite images,” Imran Hussain, Delhi environment minister, said in a statement.

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) too pointed out a rise in the burning of paddy straw in the last couple of days and warned that the worst was yet to come.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the coming days could see a further deterioration in the air quality.

The weather conditions are unfavourable for dispersal of the polluting particles suspended in the air.

A western disturbance in the north brings moisture, a dip in temperature traps the particles but a cyclonic system on the east prevents the wind flow to remove the particles.

Anticipating a spike in the pollution levels in the coming 10 days, the EPCA ordered execution of seven immediate steps in order to curb local inputs to the pollution load.

Besides stopping all construction activities, EPCA has asked for a halt on the operations of all stone crushers and hot mix plants, industries using coal and biomass fuel, brick kilns and shutting down of Mundka industrial area.

Since October 15, diesel generator sets were stopped in Delhi though they were operating in the satellite towns.

Badarpur thermal power plant too is closed.

However, at a review meeting Union Environment Secretary C K Mishra conveyed his concerns over the fact that there was no significant improvement in the air quality in spite of the concerted efforts being made by the government and all the stakeholders.

Mishra asked the Delhi government and police officials and the district magistrates of the various districts of Delhi as well as Gurugram, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad to intensify their efforts in improving the air quality.

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For 2nd day, Delhi in severe air pollution category

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