Delhi Air Pollution Level Worsens Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

SmogDelhi air pollution level deteriorates (Source: PTI)

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, high AQI will affect healthy people and seriously affect those with established health conditions.

A layer of haze lay over the national capital and its suburbs on Thursday morning, with raging farm fires and a drop-in wind speed and temperatures pushing air quality to the worst in over a year.

People complained of itchy throats and watery eyes as the sky hung heavy and acrid over the city. On Wednesday night, as the air quality index entered the “extreme” zone, experts said that unfavourable weather conditions – steady winds and low temperatures and the smoke from farm fires in neighbouring countries contributed to a thick layer of haze.

According to CPCB data, PM10 levels were at 561 micrograms per cubic metre (g/m3) at 8 am in Delhi-NCR, the highest since November 15 last year, when it was 637 g/m3. In India, PM10 levels below 100 g/m3 are deemed healthy.

PM10 is particulate matter with an inhalable diameter of 10 micrometres. Dust, pollen and mould spores contain these particles. PM2 concentrations, smaller particles that can also reach the bloodstream, were 347 g/m3. PM2.5 levels are considered healthy, up to 60 g/m3.

On Wednesday evening, at the Safdarjung Observatory, the noxious haze reduced visibility to merely 600 metres, smudging landmarks from view. On Thursday morning, it was 1.200 metres. If this were not enough, a large number of people burst firecrackers across Delhi-NCR to mark the Karwa Chauth festival.

The maximum wind speed was 5 kilometres per hour today and the minimum temperature was 11.2 degrees Celsius, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). Calm winds and low temperatures trap pollutants close to the atmosphere, while their dispersion is aided by favourable wind speed.

Health experts have said that air pollution has become a major health issue for about two core residents of the national capital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(By: S.N.Millenium with inputs from ANI & PTI)