PM10 is particulate matter with a diameter of 10 micrometers and is inhalable into the lungs
Health experts said during the COVID-19 pandemic, air pollution has become a serious health concern for about the two crore residents of the national capital
NEW DELHI :
The national capital's air quality remained “severe" for the second consecutive day on Friday, while government agencies said it is likely to improve slightly.
Experts said while meteorological conditions were “moderately" favourable for dispersion of pollutants, a “very high" number of farm fires in Punjab was the primary reason for the “severe" air quality on Friday.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the maximum wind speed was 10 kilometres per hour on Friday and the minimum temperature 11.2 degrees Celsius. Calm winds and low temperatures trap pollutants close to the ground, while favourable wind speed helps in their dispersion.
V K Soni, the head of IMD's environment monitoring research centre, said, “The air quality was in the 'very poor' category on Friday morning. It entered the 'severe' zone again by evening, with a very large number of farm fires over Punjab being the primary reason".
He said the boundary layer wind direction was north-northwesterly, favourable for the transport of pollutants from farm fires to Delhi-NCR.
The Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi said the farm fire count in Punjab (around 5,100) remained “very high" on Thursday and it is likely to impact the air quality of Delhi-NCR and other parts of northwest India.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor, SAFAR, said the share of stubble burning in Delhi's PM2.5 pollution was estimated at 21 percent on Friday. It was 42 percent on Thursday, the maximum this season so far.
Last year, the stubble contribution to Delhi's pollution had peaked to 44 percent on November 1, according to SAFAR data.
Health experts said during the COVID-19 pandemic, air pollution has become a serious health concern for about the two crore residents of the national capital.
According to a doctor at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, intake of every 22 micrograms per cubic metre of polluted air is equivalent to smoking a cigarette.
With Delhi witnessing a spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases amid worsening pollution levels, the Delhi government on Thursday announced a blanket ban on firecrackers from November 7 to November 30.
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said those violating the ban on firecrackers can be fined up to ₹1 lakh by the administration.
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