The people of Delhi-NCR woke up to light showers on Sunday morning but the air quality in Delhi and the surrounding regions remained in the severe category. Two days after the Delhi-NCR recorded its worst air quality forcing authorities to shut schools, ban construction activities and declare a public health emergency, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was at 410 at 8:00 am on Sunday, according to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).
According to SAFAR website, the air quality in Bawana was at 492, ITO crossing at 487 and Ashok Vihar at 482. Chandani Chowk was recorded at 428 while it was 430 in Mathura Road on the Air Quality Index. Lodhi Garden and Delhi Airport's Terminal 3 were in the very poor catergory with AQIs of 312 and 332 respectively. In Noida, AQI was over 480 while Gurgaon air quality was hovering just below the 400-mark. In Ghaziabad, the AQI in Vasundhara was at 486 and 482 in Indirapuram.
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'. The air quality above 500 falls in the 'severe plus' category.
Weather experts have said there is a significant improvement in wind speed and it will increase gradually from Sunday.
On Saturday, air quality had remained in the 'severe' category in Delhi and surrounding cities despite marginal dip in pollution while Haryana and Punjab too were blanketed by haze, prompting their chief ministers to press the Centre for an urgent meeting to develop a joint action plan to address the "serious" situation.
The share of stubble burning in Delhi's pollution also reduced from 44 per cent on Friday, the season's highest, to 17 per cent on Saturday, government air quality monitor SAFAR said. With farmers continuing to defy the ban on stubble burning, a blanket of haze engulfed Punjab and Haryana with several districts reporting air quality index in "severe" (101-500) and "very poor" (301-400) categories.
Visibility also reduced substantially in most parts of the two states.
Even as the blame game continued over failure to check the toxic haze, the chief ministers of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana on Saturday called for urgent intervention by the Centre to develop and implement a joint plan for a "permanent" solution to the problem.
On Friday, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority declared the public health emergency, following which the Delhi government decided to shut all schools. The EPCA also banned construction activities in Delhi-NCR till November 5.