Delhi Pollution: Haze engulfs national capital as AQI touches 369-mark

Great Ormond Street is in an area where levels of fine particles are deemed dangerous to health

"Stop any activity level if you experience any unusual coughing, chest discomfort, wheezing, breathing difficulty", said System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting Research (SAFAR) in its website.

Air quality in the national capital is gradually inching towards the "severe" category, largely due to stubble-burning in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana.

The government's Central Pollution Control Board on Friday said New Delhi's air quality had plummeted to the worst possible category.

The CPCB has warned that wind may move northerly and north-westerly during Diwali that may lead to further deterioration in Delhi's air quality.

While the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi was 366 on a scale of 0 to 500, considered "very-poor", the same was 415 in Ghaziabad and 403 in Gurugram - both signifying "severe".

According to the data from the Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) monitoring station, the major effluent PM2.5 or particles with diameter less than 2.5mm was 1,515 microgrammes per cubic metres at 10 am, which dropped to 1,295 units by 3 pm.

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Shutdown of coal and biomass based industries (excluding thermal and waste-to-energy plants) from November 4 to 10, intensification of efforts by transport department to check polluting vehicles and controlling traffic congestion in Delhi-NCR between November 1 and 10. "The dominant pollutant of AQ Index is PM2.5 and PM10", the IITM said.

The warning comes a day after air pollution shot up on Wednesday due to unfavourable weather, including low temperatures, calm winds and cloudy skies. The highest AQI of this season was recorded Friday at 361. "Apart from that, winds in Delhi now don't have a definite direction", he added. In fact, residents have also been asked to keep their windows shut and wear masks.

Stubble-burning is done by farmers, the resultant smoke takes the form of smog when it reaches Delhi and regions around it leading to a spike in air pollution.

The environment ministry is implementing a Comprehensive Action Plan for the first time to combat air pollution in Delhi and its surrounding areas in the long run.

"Punjab is not liable for pollution in Delhi".

SAFAR also issued a health advisory, urging people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children to avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.

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