A day after Diwali, people in the Delhi-NCR region woke up to a thick blanket of smog as the air quality plunged to 'severe' and 'very poor' levels. The areas around ITO were covered in heavy smog early Sunday morning. The air quality index or AQI in the area was 461 (severe). Similarly, very poor visibility was observed in Civil Lines, Geeta Colony and ISBT areas, data from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee suggested.
Continuous stubble burning in neighbouring states and Diwali festivities contributed to the increased level of pollution in Delhi. The AQI for PM 2.5 pollutant stood at 481 in Anand Vihar. Areas around Delhi airport and Lodhi Road saw air quality levels deteriorating to 444 and 414, respectively.
Delhi is experiencing poor air quality despite the state government's order banning the sale and bursting of firecrackers. As per the forecast, the pollution level in Delhi will deteriorate further by Sunday evening.
"The overall quality of Delhi has deteriorated and in the higher end of the 'very poor' category as of today morning as forecasted. The stubble burning induced impact in AQI is expected to increase from moderate to high today," the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) said.
The AQI from 0-50 is marked good; 51-100 satisfactory; 100-200 moderate; 201-300 poor; 301-400 very poor; 401-500 severe. As per health experts, the severe level of pollution can affect the health of people. It's also detrimental to those affected due to coronavirus.
The CPCB this week ordered closure of hot mix plants and stone crushers in Delhi-NCR till November 17 in view of a likely increase in pollution levels during the festive season. It also asked the governments of Punjab and Haryana to take immediate stringent actions to curb stubble burning and authorities in Delhi-NCR to strictly check biomass burning.