Delhi's air quality worsens, South Asia News & Top Stories

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The CPCB however warns that the wind direction may change to northerly and north-westerly around November 7, the time of Diwali, which may lead to severe drop in Delhi's air quality.

According to the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research said the pollution is likely to increase to the upper levels of very poor but will not touch "severe" level for the next three days. A level up to 100 is considered "good" or "satisfactory", an index value between 101 and 200 is "moderate", between 201 and 300 is "poor", 301 to 400 is categorised "very poor", and a higher value is "severe". Earlier on October 15, the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to combat air pollution came into force in Delhi-NCR, for the second consecutive year.

The most recent air pollution data from the World Health Organisation released in March this year gave India the dubious distinction of having the world's ten most polluted cities.

It also recommended intensifying efforts of transport department to check polluting vehicles and controlling traffic congestion.

The task force warned that at the beginning of November, the situation may further deteriorate on account of localised emissions during the Diwali festival and regional contribution due to stubble burning.

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The air quality improved during the day and an overall AQI of 360 was recorded at 4 pm which also falls in very poor category, according to the data.

"Pollution would reduce in the next couple of days if the weather condition remains same". It is also due to stagnation conditions forced by calm winds with low ventilation. "The dominant pollutant of AQ Index is PM2.5 and PM10", the IITM said. The highest AQI of this season was recorded on Friday at 361. In fact, residents have also been asked to keep their windows shut and wear masks.

Environment researcher Kanchi Kohli said that pollution from construction activity is not a seasonal phenomenon.

In a meeting with representatives from Environment Ministry, IMD, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Haryana Pollution Control Board and Delhi Pollution Control Board Friday, the task force apprised the members on the levels of air pollution in Delhi-NCR showing an upward trend.

A PM2.5 pollution score is used to measure the amount of tiny particulate matter which can dangerously clog lungs.

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