Delhi's air quality further deteriorated on Wednesday and was recorded in the ‘poor' category, with the authorities predicting a rise in pollution levels over the next two days. The major pollutants PM 2.5 were recorded at 272 and PM 10 at 186 (poor category) in the RK Puram area. In the Anand Vihar area, the Air Quality Index (AQI) PM 2.5 was at 303 and PM 10 at 303, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR). At the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium area, PM 2.5 was at 274 and PM 10 at 183. AQI at Punjabi Bagh Delhi was recorded poor, PM 2.5 was at 263 while the PM 10 was at 188.
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"The feeble western disturbance lies over the northern part of India at a height of 3.1 km above mean sea level. These western disturbances influence may further deteriorate Delhi's air quality by introducing additional moisture and making the air heavy," the SAFAR said.
"Levels of both gaseous and particulate pollutants are likely to increase in the next two days, and then decline. The AQI for the upcoming two days is forecast to be in the upper level of 'very poor'," it said.
Last week, the Central Pollution Control Board slapped a fine of Rs 1 crore each on three oil companies for their failure to install anti-pollution "vapour recovery" systems at fuel stations. The fine was slapped on public sector oil firms Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited.
Delhi is reeling under the menace of air pollution for the past couple of years. The region faced a major air quality crisis last year when severe pollution level forced the shutdown of schools and colleges. In 2016, the government tried to explore the possibility of cloud seeding for artificial rain but the plan never worked out.
An AQI between 100 to 200 comes under ‘moderate’ category, 201 and 300 is considered ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’ while between 401 and 500 ‘severe’. The overall PM2.5 (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometre) level was recorded at 143 and the PM10 (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometre) level at 253, according to SAFAR.