Air Quality Remains ‘Very Poor’ at Various Localities in Delhi

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The air quality of various localities in Delhi has remained at ‘very poor’ levels on Wednesday. And this phase doesn’t seem likely to end soon, given that forecasts are showing similar conditions for the rest of the week.

The 72-hour Air Quality Index (AQI) forecast shows that most localities in Delhi will suffer from very poor air quality until Saturday.

Several CPCB air quality monitoring stations in Delhi reported maximum AQI at above 400 especially during Wednesday morning—a level that pollution body categorises as ‘severe’. At this level, the air can adversely affect even healthy people and seriously impact those with existing diseases.

Mundka, Wazirpur, and Bawana were the worst-affected localities. The CPCB air quality monitoring station at these localities has recorded a 24-hour average AQI of 391, 391, and 381 respectively as on Wednesday evening. The maximum AQI at all these locations reached up to 500 during the early hours on Wednesday.

Incidentally, 500 is the maximum possible AQI on the CPCB’s scale that ranges from 0 to 500; with 0 indicating nil impact and 500 indicating a severe impact. AQI from 401 to 500 is categorised as ‘severe’:

Besides the CPCB stations at Anand Vihar (average AQI of 372), Dwarka-Sector 8 (363), Shadipur (359), Narela (350), Sonia Vihar (350), Jahangirpuri (345), Rohini (345), Vivek Vihar (330), Ashok Vihar (316), Okhla Phase-2 (316), Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium (313), DTU (305), Nehru Nagar (305), and Patparganj (301), are recording ‘very poor’ air quality level.

Out of 30 CPCB stations with sufficient data, 17 stations are reporting a ‘very poor’ air quality level on Wednesday. A prolonged exposure to such air can increase the likelihood of respiratory illness. Many stations across Delhi, including the above, are reporting the maximum AQIs of above 400, categorised as ‘severe’, during the night and early morning hours on Wednesday.

At 312, Noida’s (Sector 125 station) average AQI was also in the ‘very poor’ category until Wednesday evening.

Noida resident Sudhanshu Singh says that smog in his locality for the last week has brought back the usual ailments. “Stuffed nose, itchy eyes and a mild headache have become a constant problem for me, as well as others around me,” he says, adding, “It feels like we’re growing old before time.”

Other major cities in the north were not spared either. Ghaziabad and Faridabad are experiencing a ‘very poor’ air quality with the average index of 304 and 300 respectively. Lucknow’s air quality was at a 24-hour average of 288 till Wednesday night as measured at Lalbagh. Agra, too, was experiencing poor air quality with an average AQI of 243 on Wednesday.

The Delhi government on Monday started implementation of a Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to control air pollution through a slew of measures, including norms to control garbage burning and enforce regulations for polluting industries and vehicle emissions. For many citizens, it’s too little, too late.

Fed up of the ever-present dust, Singh blames construction and poor enforcement of regulations for the deteriorating conditions in Noida. “There is green cover in places, but the plants are aesthetic in nature, and cannot fight the pollution problem,” he says, “For now, masks and air purifiers are the only solution.”

We are closely monitoring the pollution situation in north India. Keep checking this story for more updates.