The National capital region of Delhi continues to reel under severe smog with the Air Quality Index hovering near unbreathable 500-mark in several areas. The air quantity index takes into account five chief pollutants including PM10 and PM2.5. An AQI between 401-500 is considered 'severe' and anything beyond 500 is 'severe-plus emergency'. Anand Vihar in east Delhi recorded an AQI of 469 at 10 am, whereas ITO area had AQI of 414. The Lodhi Road area, one of the greener regions in the National capital, registered an AQI of 398. According to the CPCB, air quality was in 'Severe' category in neighbouring Ghaziabad.
There has been no let-up in the air pollution level in the Capital since Diwali. On October 28, a day after Diwali, the AQI shot to 1000 in several areas of NCR. According to SAFAR, although the air quality was touching severe levels, however, 50 per cent less firecrackers were used as compared to an average of Diwali-2017 and 18. Despite alarming levels, SAFAR says the peak level of PM2.5 was lowest in past 3 years after 2015 as no so calm surfecae winds in Delhi will greatly help in dispersion. Haryana and Punjab fire counts almost doubled from during past 48 hours and increased from 1200 to 2700 as evident from SAFAR-multi-satellite product.
Talking about the ill-effects of the smog on residents of Delhi, Indian Medical Association joint secretary Dr Anil Goyal told News Nation that people should avoid going out. Though the government has not announced it so far, Dr Goyal feels that the schools should declare holiday. There has been an increased risk of heart ailments due to smog, Dr Goyal said. There has been spurt in the number of people visiting OPDs since Diwali.
Meanwhile, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the decision to shut schools will be taken "when the need arises", even though the air quality in the national capital continued to remain in the second-worst severe category on Wednesday. "We will take a decision to shut schools based on regular situation. When the need arises, we will take this step," Sisodia, also the education minister, told reporters when asked about the government's plan to close schools in view of the increasing pollution level.
Delhi remains engulfed in a thick haze with its air quality dropping further, largely due to the heavy load of smoke from stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab.