Delhi has been facing the wrath of pollution for a whole week now. With visibility down to only 400 metres, the smog blanket all over the city weighs heavy. Bursting of firecrackers, stubble burning in neighbouring states, dust from construction activities and vehicular traffic are some of the reasons attributed to the sudden spike in pollution levels.
Although Delhi’s air pollution has hit alarming rates in the recent past, Delhi is not the most polluted city in India, according to real time data tabulated by Worldwide Air Quality index. The most polluted city in India is Chandrapur in Maharashtra with Air Quality Index (AQI) at 824, followed by Varanasi’s at 771 and Lucknow with an AQI of 651. Delhi is currently the fourth city to have the worst air quality in India with an AQI of 475. This is followed by Agra with an AQI of 466.
The real time information of the Air Quality Index provided by India Central Pollution Control Board categorises the air of the top five most polluted cities as hazardous. An AQI of over 300 classifies as hazardous and this poses a health alert where residents are encouraged to avoid all outdoor activites as this may cause serious health conditions. Indian Medical Association (IMA) president K.K. Aggarwal on Monday called on Delhiites to stay indoors while adding that the particulate matter 10 (pm) and 2.5 has crossed 600 which is hazardous for the people.
Delhi residents can hope to see a clear sky only on Wednesday, with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasting dense fog for Monday, and dense to moderate fog the day after. IMD’s forecast for Wednesday is “mist in the morning followed by clear sky”.
The forecast comes after poor visibility of less than 500 metres during 21 hours on Saturday and Sunday due to fog and smog, according to the IMD website.