Delhi's air quality recorded in 'very poor' category, authorities warn of deterioration

Delhi-NCR To Observe'Clean Air Week From November 1-5

Shifting the morning assembly of students indoors, mandating them to wear masks during outdoor activities and distributing gooseberries are among the measures taken by schools in Delhi and adjoining areas to deal with the alarming level of air pollution.

"Severe" levels could potentially affect the healthy people and seriously impact those with existing diseases, while "very poor" levels affect those with existing illness. In 2016 and 2017, schools were shut down for a few days under similar conditions. The Central Pollution Control Board has also asked pollution control authorities in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab to check stubble burning, which is attributed to be a major cause for the increasing pollution levels in the city.

The Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research - commonly known as SAFAR - on Monday had said that Delhi's air quality is likely to deteriorate to the "severe-plus emergency" category after Diwali. Five fire tenders of Delhi Fire Service, as per PTI, on Monday, sprayed water on trees near NGT office, Delhi HC and Secretariat as part of its measures to control pollution.

Keeping in view the growing menace of air pollution, the Environment Ministry has launched a "Clean Air Week" in the NCR region.

Shamika Ravi, a members of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, tweeted today: 'Haven't heard a single firecracker in Delhi, yet the air purifiers are blazing red - showing risky levels of pollution.

The first day of restriction in Delhi was imposed on Thursday after "severe-plus" air quality was measured with the AQI crossing the 500 mark.

As cooler air traps pollutants close to the ground, Delhi's levels of PM2.5 - particles so tiny they can enter the lungs and bloodstream - often soar to beyond 30 times the safe limit.

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The levels of the pollutant PM10 were at a "hazardous" 1013 or over 20 times the safe limit prescribed by the World Health Organization that is 50 μg/m3 as the 24-hour mean.

National capital territory has been witnessing pollution levels oscillating between poor to severe since last week of October.

The Delhi has yet again entered the phase of smoke + fog where smog will greet the Delhiites and the respiratory issues will henceforth increase.

Experts have warned the smog will worsen in the coming days due to the use of firecrackers during the Diwali festival.

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.

The average PM2.5 and PM10 across 35 areas of Delhi at 7 p.m were 364 and 504 units, respectively.

In Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Greater Noida it was already "severe" by 11 a.m.

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