The air quality in Delhi and NCR remained beyond the “severe” level for the third day on Thursday, as authorities warned that the dusty conditions are likely to prevail for another 3-4 days. The authorities have also advised people to avoid staying outdoors for long hours.
The air quality deteriorated because of dust storms in western India, particularly Rajasthan, which increased coarser particles in the air, the Central Pollution Control Board said.
The PM10 level (presence of particles with diameter less than 10mm) was beyond severe at 796 in Delhi-NCR and 830 in Delhi particularly, leading to hazy conditions.
According to the CPCB, the air quality index – a measurement of the concentration of toxic particulate matter in the air – at several places in Delhi remained beyond the 500-mark, with east Delhi’s Anand Vihar area recording a PM10 level of 929 and PM2.5 level of 301 this morning.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered “Good”, 51-100 “Satisfactory”, 101-200 “Moderate”, 201-300 “Poor”, 301-400 “Very Poor”, and 401-500 “Severe”.
The wind blowing in the region has contributed to the spread of dust particles. According to the Met department, wind speed reaching up to 35 kmph is predicted for today in Delhi. The dust-laden winds have created a haze in Delhi-NCR since Wednesday.
The Environment Ministry has said the dusty conditions are likely to prevail for the next three days. It has alerted construction agencies, municipal corporations and Delhi Pollution Control Committee to ensure water sprinkling.
The CPCB said pollution this summer is very different from last year. In November, both PM2.5 and PM10 spiked in the Delhi-NCR region, posing serious health hazard to residents.
Meanwhile, dust storms hit various parts of Uttar Pradesh, leaving 15 persons dead and 28 injured, an official spokesman said.
“15 persons were killed in dust storm in the past 24 hours. While three each died in Gonda and Sitapur, one person was killed in Faizabad,” an official spokesman said, adding “11 persons were injured in Faizabad, 17 were injured in Sitapur”.
Taking note of this, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had ordered district magistrates concerned to ensure proper treatment to the injured. He also directed that compensation be paid to the kin of those killed and said no laxity will be tolerated.
(With inputs from PTI)