Delhi's pollution level remains severe for fifth day; air quality sees improvement

Delhi Air Quality Improves From Friday Haze Remains

A thick layer of dust has settled over the Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR).

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted a cloudy day in the national capital with the possibility of thundershowers.

The union minister also urged the public to limit their period outdoors and stay inside their homes. The severe level begins at 430 ug/m3. Many areas in Delhi have recorded air quality index readings as high as 999 over the past few days.

While the pollution in winters is mainly attributed to stubble burning and lack of wind, the dust storm due to high wind speeds seems to have caused severe air pollution in the national capital region (NCR) around this time of the year.

In three months, Delhi-NCR experienced 223 instances of "poor" air quality and 87 instances of "very poor" air quality recorded by seven air-quality monitoring stations, data show.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) on a scale of 0 to 500 for Delhi was "severe" at 445 against "poor" at 296 on Tuesday.

The Central Pollution Control Board or CPCB had on Thursday asked for all construction activities to be stopped temporarily as part of emergency measures to curb dust pollution. The average PM10 levels on June 11 were 2.3 times the standard which rose to 8 times on June 12 and 15 times on June 13. According to an official statement, he also appealed to the people to avoid unnecessary exposure, given the prevailing situation.

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The L-G said that a massive afforestation drive would be conducted across Delhi from July 15 to September 15. Emergency measures like stoppage of all civil construction activities till June 17.

The civic body is said to have intensified mechanical road sweeping of streets as part of the measures.

The Supreme Court-appointed EPCA is empowered to enforce the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the city.

"That means shutting down of all civil construction activities till June 17. Else the situation could have been worse", Mahesh Palawat, Director Skymet, told IANS.

The EPCA's action plan, termed GRAP, has formulated five categories.

Pollution linked to boundary conditions-burning of fossil fuels, seasonal fires, dust events and other natural sources-is now the top contributing factor to poor air quality, according to UrbanEmissions.info, a pollution research and analysis site.

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