Air pollution levels creep up again in Delhi-NCR overnight

Air pollution levels creep up again in Delhi-NCR overnight

New Delhi: Air quality in Delhi and its suburbs deteriorated again overnight after a marginal improvement a day ago with forecasts suggesting that a major relief is unlikely in the coming days.

The city’s 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI), recorded at 4 pm everyday, stood at 348 on Monday, deteriorating from 301 on Sunday.

It was 319 on Saturday, 405 on Friday and 419 on Thursday.

Neighbouring Ghaziabad (321), Gurugram (261), Greater Noida (318), Noida (331) and Faridabad (329) also recorded a dip in air quality.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, 401 and 450 ‘severe’ and above 450 ‘severe plus’.

The Centre on Saturday removed stringent curbs, including a ban on construction work related to linear projects and the entry of polluting trucks into Delhi in view of a dip in air pollution levels due to favourable wind speed and direction.

These measures constitute the final stage -- Stage IV -- of the Centre’s air pollution control plan called the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Area, a statutory body responsible for formulating strategies to combat pollution in the region, asked Delhi and NCR states to revoke all emergency measures, under which only CNG, electric and BS VI-compliant vehicles from other states are allowed to enter Delhi, with exemptions granted to those involved in essential services.

All medium and heavy goods vehicles not engaged in essential services were also banned in the capital under Stage IV of GRAP.

According to the latest CAQM order, all other curbs under stages I, II and III of GRAP, including a ban on non-essential construction work, mining, stone crushers and diesel generators will continue.

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Sunday said people should remain vigilant and adhere to pollution control measures. He also recalled that the progress made just before Diwali due to rain and favourable meteorological conditions was compromised by people bursting firecrackers.

The minister confirmed that other restrictions under stages I, II and III of GRAP will continue in the capital.

The ban on BS III petrol and BS IV diesel vehicles will also continue, he said.

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