DELHI POL­LU­TION HITS DAM­AG­ING LEVEL

Thick layer of haze across the Indian cap­i­tal af­fects visibility

The Gulf Today - - FRONT PAGE -

NEW DELHI: The air qual­ity in Delhi-ncr wors­ened to the “se­vere” level on Tues­day, as an overnight spike in pol­lu­tion cov­ered the city in a smoky haze.

The city wit­nessed a thick layer of haze on Tues­day morn­ing, which af­fected visibility. Ex­perts warned that episodes of smog will be­gin in a cou­ple of days.

“It is haze since the Ozone is at a good level,” IMD Head KJ Ramesh said. Haze is the relec­tion of sun­light from par­tic­u­late mat­ter (PM). Smog, which is far more dense, is a mix­ture of mois­ture and PM, and al­lows for lim­ited visibility.

At 3 p.m., the Air Qual­ity In­dex (AQI) of Delhi, which in­cludes 36 re­gions, was 401 con­sid­ered se­vere. The vol­ume of par­tic­u­late mat­ters was well above “se­vere” lev­els by 9 a.m.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­tral Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board (CPCB), the air qual­ity is set to de­te­ri­o­rate fur­ther from Nov.1, and the Di­wali this year is likely to be more pol­luted.

On Tues­day, al­most all places in the NCR saw a sharp rise in the ma­jor pol­lu­tants − PM2.5 and PM10 − par­ti­cles in the air with di­am­e­ters less than 2.5mm and 10mm, re­spec­tively.

Across 35 ac­tive pol­lu­tion mon­i­tored area in Delhi, the av­er­age con­cen­tra­tion of PM2.5 and PM10 was 273 mi­cro­grammes per cu­bic me­ters and 487 units by 3 p.m. The same PM2.5 and PM10 con­cen­tra­tion across 48 mon­i­tored area of Na­tional Cap­i­tal Region (NCR) was 263 units and 470 units.

Air qual­ity is con­sid­ered “se­vere” when ei­ther AQI is be­tween 401 and 500 or PM2.5 is be­tween 250 and 300 or the PM10 lev­els are be­tween 430 and 500, ac­cord­ing to CPCB.

The safe limit for PM2.5 is 60 units as per na­tional stan­dards and 25 units ac­cord­ing to the in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. For PM10, up to 100 units is safe from na­tional stan­dards and 50 units in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

At 3 p.m., the AQI was 425 at Gu­ru­gram, 412 in Farid­abad, 410 at Sec­tor-125 Noida, and 449 at Ghazi­abad, all con­sid­ered se­vere. At Greater Noida, AQI was 395, on the verge of be­ing se­vere.

How­ever, some called it a mix­ture of haze and smog, but more haze.

“Haze is the relec­tion of sun­light when it falls on PM and smog is a mix­ture of fog and PM,” Shamb­havi Shukla, a re­search as­so­ci­ate with Cen­tre for Sci­ence and En­vi­ron­ment said.

Delhi’s early warn­ing sys­tem, put in place on Oct.15, has said north­west­erly winds have al­ready started blow­ing. Also, the ven­ti­la­tion in­dex, which de­ter­mines how fast pol­lu­tants get dis­persed, and wind speeds are ex­pected to re­main low over the next two days. This might help trap pol­lu­tants in the air.

Reuters

Peo­ple ex­er­cise in a park on a smoggy morn­ing in New Delhi on Tues­day.

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