As the concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 from Delhi-NCR over 24 hours have exceeded 500 and 300 micrograms per cubic meter for more than 17 and 19 hours, respectively, states have been told to be prepared to implement measures of “emergency” within the framework of the Gradual Response Action. Plan (GRAP), which includes a construction ban, an odd traffic scheme, and school closings. Officials said no major changes to the AQI are expected for four to five days.
The pollution is turning into a health crisis and hospitals say patients are rushed to the ER with complaints of chest congestion, coughing fits and shortness of breath.
Friday was the sixth day of “severe” air reported in the last eight days. Experts said pollutants have accumulated due to calm wind conditions, high humidity, low mixing layer height and low temperature. Delhi’s ratio of stubble burning to PM2.5 increased from 26% on Thursday to 35% on Friday.
When air quality remains above 500 and 300 micrograms per cubic meter for more than 48 hours, GRAP “emergency” measures are implemented in the region. According to CPCB data, Delhi-NCR’s 24-hour PM10 concentration was 557.4 micrograms per cubic meter at 7pm on Friday, while PM2.5 was 373.1 micrograms per cubic meter during the Same time. The safe limit for PM10 and PM2.5 is 100 and 60 micrograms per cubic meter, respectively.
The Delhi airport recorded poor visibility today. (ANI) https://t.co/rIEE8XIIo4
– TOI Delhi (@TOIDelhi) 1636698639000
R K Jenamani, Chief Scientist of the Meteorological Department of India, said: “Delhi has reported moderate smog conditions during the day with poor visibility in the range of 300-800m. For the first time this season, poor visibility conditions were recorded, especially in the afternoon, due to smog coverage in Delhi-NCR throughout the day. ”
Visibility in Safdarjung, the base station of the city, ranged between 300 and 500 meters, while Palam recorded visibility of 500-800 meters. By comparison, visibility was better on Thursday afternoon at 800-1200m. “The main reason behind the worsening air quality and smog coverage is calm or light winds that continue to prevail during the day along with high humidity,” said a meteorology official.
Dipankar Saha, former director of the CPCB air laboratory, said: “The back pressure from the southeast has resulted in calm conditions in the northern region. The ventilation coefficient and the height of the mixing layer are also low. ”
Experts said relief from toxic pollution levels is not expected in the coming days. VK Soni, director of the research and environment center, IMD, said: “It is likely that the wind speed will remain the same for the next few days, which will make it difficult for pollutants to disperse. No significant change in air quality is anticipated for the next four to five days. ”
A foggy view of the Red Fort as air quality worsens over the city in New Delhi on Friday. (Photo: ANI)
Mahesh Palawat of Skymet Weather, a private weather forecasting agency, said: “There is no possibility of rain activity for at least a week, which would have given some relief.”
The System for Forecasting and Investigating Air Quality and Weather (SAFAR) said air quality is likely to remain in the “severe” category on Saturday. “Transport-level winds are likely to ease from the night of November 13, resulting in less transport of pollutants from the upwind region to Delhi. Some locations in Delhi witnessed PM10 as the main pollutant (instead of PM2.5), which could be due to rising relative humidity locally. ”