Delhi's air quality turns severe due to adverse meteorological conditions
NEW DELHI: Delhi's air quality turned severe on Wednesday due to adverse meteorological conditions that remained unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, the overall air quality index (AQI) in the city reached 420 in the 'severe' category. Twenty-three areas in Delhi recorded 'severe' air quality, while six areas recorded 'very poor' air quality, it said.
Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Noida recorded 'severe' air quality, according to the data. The overall PM2.5 level (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers) was recorded at 291 and the PM10 level at 465 in Delhi, the CPCB said.
An AQI between 100 to 200 comes under 'moderate' category, 201 and 300 is considered 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', while that between 401 and 500 is 'severe'. The wind speed is likely to remain "highly unfavourable" for dispersion of pollutants till Wednesday, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IIMT) said. According to experts, even healthy people find it hard to breathe when air quality level is at 'severe' and doctors advise physical activity to be kept at a minimum.
In a health advisory, the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) asked Delhiites not to rely on common dust masks for protection. The agency has advised people to avoid all outdoor activities, including taking walks.
"If the room has windows, close them, if the air conditioner provides a fresh air intake option then choose it, avoid burning anything such as wood, candle or even an incense," it said. It has also recommended frequent wet mopping and using masks known as N-95 or P-100 respirators only for outdoor activities. "Do not rely on dust masks for protection," the advisory added.