Friday, 18 January, 2019

As air quality dips in Delhi, industries shut for three days

Delhi-NCR air quality drops to ‘severe’ category officials advise residents to stay indoors Severe Delhi Pollution Level Prompts 3-Day Ban On Construction Activities
Theresa Hayes | 26 December, 2018, 23:40

Thirty-two areas in the city recorded "severe" air quality while it was "very poor" in five areas, it said. They will remain closed until Wednesday, EPCA Chairperson Bhure Lal had said. "We are issuing further orders to the industries department and will be taking stock of the situation soon", said SM Ali, Member Secretary, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC). Air quality in Faridabad and Noida was also recorded in the "severe" category.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said that his government would reintroduce odd-even scheme in the capital to combat the problem of air pollution, which continues to wreak havoc with the denizens.

The overall PM2.5 level - fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometer - was recorded at 220 and the PM10 level at 341 here, the CPCB said. "Until the centre takes steps, nothing can be done". An index value higher than 400 is categorised "severe".

The advisory also recommended frequent wet mopping and using masks known as N-95 or P-100 respirators only for outdoor activities.

Environmentalists said that inaction by the authorities was inexcusable and a concerted effort was needed to reduce pollution from vehicles and industry. The air quality was "very poor" in other cities in the National Capital Region too.

While, the national capital has been battling air pollution for quite a few years now, air quality in Kolkata has dropped significantly over the last few months and in November it was the most polluted city in India.

According to the state-run SAFAR, a thick blanket of smog engulfed the region on Tuesday morning as the air quality plummeted to the hazardous category with 423 in the morning.

"Do not rely on dust masks for protection", it read. "SAFAR forecasting model predicts a faster improvement due to faster dispersion and deposition owing to a shorter lifetime of particles near the surface".

According to the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), the air quality is likely to improve as weather conditions like the wind speed and the ventilation index are marginally favourable for dispersion of pollutants.

Air quality in Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, and Gurugram was marked as "severe" and "very poor" with the AQI level falling between 444 and 464, says the CPSB data for Tuesday.

"It is just that dispersal (of pollutants) is not happening because of the meteorological conditions". A ventilation index lower than 6000 sqm/second, with average wind speed less than 10 kmph, is unfavorable for dispersion of pollutants.