Delhi records season's worst air quality ahead of Diwali

People take desperate measures to fight polluted air. File

People take desperate measures to fight polluted air. File

The sale of air purifiers had surged 40 percent from past year because of increasing public awareness about the effects of pollution on health, company and industry officials said.

Delhi's air quality is expected to deteriorate to "severe plus emergency" category after Diwali, the central government-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research said.

The PM2.5 level was recorded at 210 with fine particulates can be a matter of more serious health concern than PM10 (particles in the air with less than 10 micrometres of diameter).

An AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 is marked as severe/hazardous.

Another official said if the air quality continues to remain in the "severe" category for 48 hours, they would consider implementing more regulations.

With negligible wind over Delhi, pollutants were trapped due to rise in humidity early on Thursday when the air quality was put as "very poor".

Besides overpopulation and dust, one of the main reasons of increasing air pollution levels in Delhi is crop burning by the farmers in the neighboring states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

The highest levels of PM10 and PM2.5 are expected between 11pm to 3am on the night of November 7-8.

Delhi's air pollution levels refuse to come down as residents gear up for a worsening situation. The pollution control board is conducting monitoring of air in six different districts in the state- Ajmer, Alwar, Jaipur, Kota, Pali and Udaipur.

Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain urged people to help reduce pollution by celebrating a cracker-free Diwali.

Heavy industrialization and a rising standard of living are the most common causes of high concentrations of air pollution in the cities on this list - though they are not the only culprits.

As per SAFAR's forecast, if no firecrackers are burned, PM 2.5 on the day of Diwali that is November 8 will stand at 378, falling under "very poor" category.

"The new trend in Delhi to disperse pollutants much faster from one extreme as compared to a year ago (has been) witnessed in this winter, which means that accumulated pollutants are getting more free path than earlier".

The national capital and the areas around experienced the first smog episode of this season as the city turned into gas chamber a day ahead of Diwali with air quality placed in "emergency" or "beyond-severe" category.

The first-ever worldwide air pollution conference organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) brought together government officials and health experts from more than 100 countries to place the issue on the global agenda.

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