Delhi’s air quality nosedived towards very poor category on Tuesday even as authorities put several key measures in place to combat air pollution. The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi was recorded at 293, just eight points below the “very poor” category, according to the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting And Research.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor” and that between 401 and 500 is categorised as “severe”.
A senior Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) official said several factors like vehicular pollution, construction activities and meteorological factors like wind speed were responsible for continuing pollution in the city despite measures being taken up.
Several measures are in force in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) like mechanised sweeping of roads, ban on garbage burning, pollution control measures at brick kilns and deployment of police to ensure smooth passage of traffic at vulnerable areas.
The use of gensets have also been banned in the city but they are being allowed to operate in parts of the NCR due to power issues. “The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has been rolled out in the city but its ground level implementation is still going on,” the official said.
The GRAP, notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in 2012, prescribes a set of measures to curb air pollution based on the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) daily Air Quality Index (AQI).
The emergency plan gets implemented if “very poor” or “severe” air pollution levels are recorded for 48 hours but given the extent of winter pollution witnessed by the national capital, the plan has been implemented as the air quality slipped to the “poor” category, the official said. In addition, the CPCB has also deployed 41 teams to monitor the implementation of measures taken to combat air pollution.
On Tuesday, Anand Vihar recorded an AQI of 381, Dwarka Sector 8 registered AQI of 373, ITO recorded 296 and Jahangirpuri recorded an AQI of 321, according to CPCB data. The PM10 level (presence of particles with diameter less than 10 micrometres) in Delhi stood at 274 and the PM2.5 level was recorded at 119. Both PM10 and PM2.5 are in poor category, according to the data.