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Delhi air slips to ‘severe’ levels, farm fumes to choke it further

As meteorological conditions are bringing fumes from field fires in Punjab and Haryana, air quality in Delhi deteriorated to ‘severe’ level on Tuesday and is forecast to become much more hazardous in the days ahead.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 13, 2019, 06.35 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: Air quality in Delhi deteriorated to ‘severe’ level on Tuesday and is forecast to become much more hazardous in the days ahead as meteorological conditions are bringing fumes from field fires in Punjab and Haryana.

“No sudden recovery is expected under this condition at least for the next two days and AQI is likely to deteriorate further towards ‘severe+’ category by tomorrow (Wednesday). The condition may slightly improve by November 15,” the Safar pollution monitoring system of the ministry of earth sciences said in its latest report.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) for the city was 671 in the morning, more than 13 times the healthy level of 50, according to data from Airvisual, which monitors pollution across the globe. The hazardous particulate matter (PM2.5) jumped to an average of 467 in Delhi on Tuesday. The number of fires in fields of Haryana and Punjab fell to 740 on Monday from 1,846 on Saturday, but northwesterly wind and cold weather conditions are brining fumes towards Delhi and trapping them in the air above, meteorologists said.

On November 6, air quality had improved to the ‘poor’ category with PM 2.5 registering at 106, but the situation worsened over a week and touched 477 in the early hours of Tuesday, Airvisual said. Parts of Delhi like Rohini (368), Dwarka (378), Mundka (346) and Lodhi Road (406) saw the air quality touching hazardous levels on Tuesday, it said.

A good rain shower can help the pollutants to disperse but it is unlikely for the next few days. “The sky is likely to be partly cloudy for the next two days under the influence of approaching western disturbance but no precipitation is expected,” said Safar.

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The Environment (Prevention and Control) Authority had announced that the ‘dirtyfuel’ industries will remain shut till November 13, and extended the ban on hot-mix plants and stone-crushing industries. The apex court on November 4 banned all construction and demolition activities till further orders.

Delhi’s air deteriorates every year after the monsoon when the wind direction changes and farmers start burning farm residue.

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