Millennium Post

City's air again slips to severe category

NEW DELHI: This Christmas of Delhi was not much merry for the citizens as the air pollution spiked again and became 'very poor', but most of the monitoring stations of the Capital recorded 'severe' air quality. At least 17 trains were cancelled while several others arrived late here as fog enveloped in Delhi.
"Nearly 17 air monitoring stations have recorded severe air quality and the so toxic that exposure should be avoided," said an official of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Average Air Quality Index on Monday was 372, classified as very poor by the CPCB. On Sunday, the reading was 305. The hourly graph of the Central Control Room for Air Quality Management of the CPCB reflected the rising trend of PM2.5 and PM10, which are the most dominant pollutants in Delhi's air. PM10 and PM 2.5 were recorded at 407 and 268.7 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3) at 5 pm. The corresponding 24-hour safe standards are 60 and 100. Humidity was recorded as 100 per cent by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
"The wind speed has deteriorated again and lesser speed has caused the increase in the pollution. If the speed does not increase then the condition will worsen in the coming days," said the official.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court-appointed body EPCA asked the Delhi government to initiate ground level measures to control the pollution, a week ago. According to the EPCA members, the Delhi government has not much to combat the air pollution except using the smog-cannon at the Anand Vihar ISBT. The EPCA has recently slammed the Delhi government for not taking action against the brick kilns and has given deadline till March 2018 to shut these down. "The brick kilns in and around the Capital is very dangerous for the city and we expected that the Delhi government would take some step against it but they didn't," said an official.
According to recent laws if the severe air category continues for more than 48 hours then the Graded Action Response Plan (GRAP) would come into play and if that happens again then the government would be bound to maintain the plans. Under the GRAP, pollution is considered 'severe plus' or 'emergency' when readings of ultrafine particulates PM2.5 or PM10 are above 300 and 500 ug/m3, respectively. Measures listed under the emergency category are rolled out when these conditions prevail for 48 hours at a stretch. On the odd-even road rationing measure, which is supposed to be implemented as part of the emergency measures, the EPCA said all major towns of the National Capital Region will be included the next time the scheme is enforced.

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