New Delhi: Pollution levels in the national capital dropped to 'very poor' category on Thursday evening and is likely to worsen in the coming two days, government agencies said. Delhi's Air Quality Index (AQI) have been recorded at 302, which is in the 'very poor' category. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast further deterioration in air quality with increase in PM 10 and PM 2.5 pollutants.
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 401 and 500 'severe'. "Air quality will deteriorate in the coming two days till October 24. There are factors other than farm fires which are worsening the air quality, such as vehicular pollution and waste burning.
"PM 2.5 will increase and PM 10, which is now in 'poor' category, will be 'very poor' by October 24," Additional Director General of IMD Anand Sharma told PTI. The Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor SAFAR said an increase in stubble fire count was observed around Haryana, Punjab and neighbouring regions. On Wednesday, the count was 1,428.
Though the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and other agencies had predicted an improvement in air quality for Thursday, the AQI turned out to be worse than Wednesday. According to the CPCB, Delhi's AQI was in 'poor' category on Thursday morning at 254 and it deteriorated to 'very poor' at 302 by evening. It was 256 on Wednesday. The 24-hour average AQI of Delhi was 223 on Tuesday and 244 the day before.
The figures are based on data collected from 34 monitoring stations in the city. Calm surface wind conditions prevail over Delhi region, SAFAR said, adding, "It is forecast that the air quality will be in the 'poor' to marginally 'very poor' on October 23 and 24." According to AQI monitoring mobile application SAMEER, Delhi's 10 monitoring stations recorded "very poor" air quality.
These include Mundka with AQI of 365, Wazirpur 352, Anand Vihar 306, Narela 358, Bawana 320, Rohini 342, Sector 8 in Dwarka 332, Vivek Vihar 313 and Jahangirpuri 310. The share of stubble burning in Delhi's PM2.5 level was nine per cent on Thursday, SAFAR said. Farm fire count around Haryana, Punjab and neighbouring regions stood at 849 on Tuesday and its share in Delhi's PM 2.5 pollution was 15 per cent on Wednesday.
The Delhi government has kick-started its 'Red Light On, Gaadi Off' anti-pollution campaign and has deployed 2,500 environment marshals at 100 traffic signals across the city to generate awareness and curb vehicular pollution. The drive will go on till November 15 from 8 am to 8 pm. It is an awareness drive by the Delhi government and no person will be issued challans, the government has said.