Delhi`s air quality improves, settles at `very poor` level

Delhi`s air quality improves, settles at `very poor` level

In view of the prevalence of severe pollution in the national capital, industrial activities in pollution hotspots of Wazirpur, Mundka, Narela, Bawana, Sahibabad and Faridabad, and construction work across Delhi-NCR will remain shut till Wednesday.

The air quality levels have worsened in the national capital region for the fourth consecutive day and the alarming situation could prompt the return of the odd-even vehicle scheme.

Data from the government's Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) showed the air quality index, which measures the concentration of poisonous particulate matter, was an average of 449 on Monday, only slightly better than the 450 on Sunday.

Several parts of Delhi faced severe air quality such as in Anand Vihar where the PM 2.5 and PM 10 was 424 and 360 respectively and Siri Fort where it was 436 and 424 respectively.

Twenty-five areas recorded severe pollution levels, while nine recorded very poor air quality, the CPCB data showed.

According to SAFAR, Delhi's overall air quality is expected to improve due to increased wind speed.

This Christmas also came in midst of the worst December pollution seen since daily air quality indexing began in 2015.

Traffic police was suggested to ensure smooth flow of traffic.

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"The ventilation index which allows dispersion (of pollutants) is extremely poor and it is expected that these conditions will prevail for the next two days", Lal said in the letter.

The agencies have also been asked to ensure strict action against illegal industries, intensify ground action and make all efforts to control polluting activities, particularly waste burning.

A Delhi government official blamed the pollution for lighter-than-usual traffic on already holiday-thinned streets, while a Delhi airport official said some domestic and worldwide flights were delayed for up to two hours due to poor visibility.

"There is a lack of political will to take required measures on a sustained basis to contain pollution levels", said Sunil Dahiya, a senior campaigner with Greenpeace India.

Air pollution was "severe" for the fourth consecutive day, the daytime temperature fell to its lowest this season, and heavy fog disrupted at least 200 flights in and out of the national capital on Tuesday, even as weather officials predicted winter will get tougher in the coming week. Guleria asked people to avoid visiting most polluted areas and taking preventive measures.

The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology said biomass burning is also contributing to the spike in PM2.5 concentration.

"We all have to be participants in reducing pollution".

"It is just that dispersal (of pollutants) is not happening because of the meteorological conditions".

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