Delhi’s air quality today took a turn for the worse with monitoring stations across the city recording it in the ‘very poor’ category. The average (24-hour rolling) of PM 2.5 and PM 10, suspended respirable pollutants, were recorded as 120.8 and 248 micrograms per cubic metre by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) around 5.30 PM, as against the corresponding safe limits of 60 and 100.
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SAFAR’s Dhirpur, Pitampura, Delhi University, Pusa road, Mathura road and Airport stations had ‘very poor’ air quality index. Even last week, air quality fluctuated between moderate and poor categories.
In a letter to school principals, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia apprised them of the “manifold increase” in pollution levels due to use of crackers, advising them to raise awareness among children against its use.
“The ‘No Use of Fire Crackers’ campaign may be spearheaded by your eco clubs through nukkad nataks, padyatras, workshops etc involving the children of your school,” Sisodia wrote.
The fall in air quality is in line with private agency Skymet’s forecast that pollution was set to spike due to favourable weather conditions including a sudden chill in the air coupled with very light winds.
Farm fires in neighbouring Punjab, Haryana and smokes from landfill sites like the one in Bhalaswa are also major contributory factors in this regard.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), ‘very poor’ air quality may give rise to respiratory illness while poor may cause breathing discomfort on prolonged exposure.