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Delhi-NCR air turns poisonous

| | New Delhi
Delhi-NCR air turns poisonous

Due to strong dust storm, air quality in Delhi-NCR has deteriorated “severely” and is expected to remain the same for the next three days. The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), a unit of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), on Wednesday recorded the concentration of Particulate Matter (PM) 10 at 981 micro gram per cubic metre (µgm-3), highest this season. The pollution monitoring body has raised the red flag saying that PM 10 and PM 2.5 will remain high as the strong winds have brought pollutants in the region.

The average concentration calculated by the SAFAR fluctuated between 900 and 932 µgm-3, however, the permissible limit is 100 µgm-3,

The Union Environment Ministry attributed the high pollution levels in the national Capital and NCR to dust storms from Rajasthan. In a statement here, the Ministry said that Rajasthan is facing extremely dry weather conditions, with high temperatures and wind speeds. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the current surface winds in Delhi are in the range of 5-6 m/sec and wind direction is West to South West, which is likely to continue over the next three days. Therefore, it is expected that dusty conditions will prevail in Delhi-NCR for the next three days, the Ministry said, adding that major construction agencies, municipal corporations and Delhi Pollution Control Committee  have been alerted to ensure water sprinkling if required.

In some areas of Delhi, values of PM 10 were recorded at 34 times higher on Wednesday at 8.30 pm. According to Real Time Ambient Air quality Data of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), at Najafgarh PM 10 value was 3,321 µgm-3.

Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range at Tughlakabad in Southeast Delhi recorded PM10 at 2,250 µgm-3. In Dwarka it was 2,246 µgm-3, at Wazirpur 2,775 µgm-3, while Anand Vihar recorded 1,873 µgm-3. Major Dhyan Chand Stadium recorded PM 10 at 1,693 µgm-3.

Incidentally, the SAFAR has forecast the situation will continue on Thursday.

The SAFAR on its Air Quality Index (AQI) has marked the Delhi map with Dark Black Red colour.

For Thursday, the SAFAR air and weather forecast unit mentioned that pollutant values, mainly PM 10, will be around 932 µgm-3.

The IMD on Wednesday forecast strong surface winds for next two days, and added that air quality will remain polluted in Delhi and the NCR.

Delhiites will get some relief on Friday as concentration is expected to remain low on AQI. The SAFAR has marked PM 10 at 423 µgm-3 for Friday.

Gufran Beig, a scientist at the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research institute, said the dust storm deteriorated the air quality in the Delhi-NCR region.

“There was a ground-level dust storm in the western part of the country that increased drastically coarser particles in the air, causing a spike in pollution levels in Delhi,” he said.

“Such dust storms accompanied by high-speed winds (30-40 kmph) do not last too long due to which the air quality will return to normal by this evening,” Beig added.

The SAFAR also issued an advisory in which it has advised people not to do breathing exercises. “Stop any activity level if you experience any unusual coughing, chest discomfort, wheezing, breathing difficulty, or fatigue and consult a doctor. If the room has windows, close them,” the SAFAR said in its official statement pertaining to health advisory.

“If the air conditioner provides a fresh air intake option, close it. Avoid burning anything, such as wood, candles or even incense. Keep the room clean - don’t vacuum. Do wet mopping frequently .Masks known as N-95 or P-100 respirators may only help if you go out. Do not rely on dust masks for protection,” stated as mentioned in advisory report.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality index at several places in Delhi crossed the 500-mark, with east Delhi’s Anand Vihar area recording an AQI of 891.

Meanwhile, the CPCB, another pollution watch organisation under the Ministry of Environment & Forest and Climate Change (MoEF & CC) showed that the PM10 level was beyond at 778 µgm-3 in the Delhi-NCR region and 824 µgm-3 in  morning hours in Delhi, leading to hazy conditions and limiting visibility.

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.

Delhi may get relief from hazy and dusty weather from June 19 as the IMD has forecast rain and thunderstorm activities.  



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