Delhi's air quality continues to remain at alarming levels, as air quality worsened to “severe” on the air quality index (AQI) on Thursday morning.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, the Air Quality Index is at 486 in Sonia Vihar. While, AQI was recorded at 432 (severe category) in Vikas Sadan area.
PM10 levels in Delhi-NCR stood at 561 microgram per cubic meter (µg/m3) at 8 am -- the highest since November 15 last year, when it was 637 µg/m3, according to CPCB data. PM10 levels below 100 µg/m3 are considered safe in India. PM10 is particulate matter with a diameter of 10 micrometers which is inhalable. These particles include dust, pollen and mold spores. The levels of PM2, finer particles which can even enter the bloodstream, were 347 µg/m3. PM2.5 levels up to 60 µg/m3 are considered safe.
As the skies hung heavy and acrid over the region, people complained of itchy throat and watery eyes. Experts said unfavourable meteorological conditions -- calm winds and low temperatures -- and smoke from farm fires in neighbouring states led to a dense layer of haze on Wednesday night as the air quality index entered the "severe" zone.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the maximum wind speed was 5 kilometres per hour on Thursday morning and the minimum temperature 11.2 degrees Celsius. Calm winds and low temperatures trap pollutants close to the ground, while favourable wind speed helps in their dispersion. Health experts said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, air pollution has become a serious health concern for about the two crore residents of the national capital.
(Inputs from Agencies)