Delhi Air Quality Index Beyond “Severe” Due to Dust Storm

The air quality in Delhi today deteriorated beyond the “severe” level because of a ground-level dust storm in western India that had increased coarser particles in the air, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data showed.

The CPCB in compliance with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order has released monthly data that highlights the air quality index (AQI) of the Delhi NCR region in the last three months.

  1. Air quality index at several places in Delhi crossed the 500-mark.
  2. The CPCB data showed that the PM10 level was beyond “severe” at 778 in Delhi-NCR.
  3. Doctors advise people to use masks.

It is reported that the current conditions are likely to last till Friday with the Environment Ministry blaming dust storms from Rajasthan for choking Delhi and NCR. On Wednesday, major construction agencies, municipal corporations and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) were instructed to ensure water sprinkling around the city.

Morning readings from most air quality monitoring stations across NCR showed that PM 2.5 levels remained in either the poor or hazardous categories. In several places, however, levels went beyond the severe – which is the maximum pollution level. As per AQICN’s collated data, RK Puram and the area around Sonia Vihar water treatment plant were the worst with readings maxed out at 999 at around 0200 hours on Thursday. Other areas like DTU (892), Satyawati College (812), Rohini (787) and DITE Okhla (741) also had air quality in the hazardous levels but combined figures brought the overall category down to ‘poor’.

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 Delhi-NCR.

A few recommendations that the monthly report gave to improve the air quality included control of vehicular emissions, control of road dust and re-suspension of dust and other fugitive emission and control of air pollution from bio-mass burning.

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.