No rain, air still ‘se­vere’; this Jan­uary sec­ond worst in 3 years

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - METRO - HT Cor­re­spon­dent htre­[email protected]­dus­tan­

NEW DELHI: With rain giv­ing the Cap­i­tal the slip on Sun­day, the city air re­mained in the “se­vere” zone for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive day.

This is the fifth such day this month that air in Delhi re­mained un­der the se­vere cat­e­gory. While in Jan­uary 2016, there were at least six se­verely pol­luted days, in Jan­uary 2017 there were none. In Jan­uary 2018, Delhi again wit­nessed at least three se­verely pol­luted days.

“While most parts of Pun­jab and iso­lated parts of Haryana re­ceived light rain, there was snow­fall in many places across Jammu and Kash­mir and Hima- chal Pradesh. Delhi, how­ever, didn’t re­ceive any rain,” said a se­nior of­fi­cial of the In­dia Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Depart­ment.

Me­te­o­rol­o­gists have fore­cast that the night tem­per­a­ture could start drop­ping by at least 3°C by Wed­nes­day. Pol­lu­tion is also ex­pected to dip marginally but the air qual­ity would re­main in ‘very poor’ zone.

On Sun­day the Air Qual­ity In­dex (AQI) value was 414. It was 423 on Satur­day. On a scale of 0 – 500, an AQI value above 400 is con­sid­ered to be ‘se­vere’. Ac­cord­ing to the in­dex such an un­healthy air could not just af­fect peo­ple with re­s­pi­ra­tory and car­diac ail­ments but even healthy cit­i­zens.

“In the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion the over­all con­cen­tra­tion of PM2.5 – the smaller and more harm­ful of the par­tic­u­late mat­ter – was more than four times above the per­mis­si­ble lim­its and mov­ing closer to the emer­gency lev­els. The level was PM10 was still in the very poor level,” said a se­nior of­fi­cial of the Cen­tral Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board.

The multi-agency task force headed by the CPCB is likely to meet on Mon­day and is­sue rec­om­men­da­tions if the air qual­ity re­fuses to im­prove. The last time the air qual­ity turned se­vere on Jan­uary 5, the task force had banned the en­try of trucks for 24 hours.

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