New Delhi, November 8
Air quality in Delhi and its suburbs dropped to the severe category again on Wednesday morning, with smoke from post-harvest paddy straw burning in neighbouring states accounting for one-third of the air pollution in the national capital.
The city's Air Quality Index (AQI) stood at 421, worsening from 395 at 4 pm on Tuesday.
Despite a marginal dip, the concentration of PM2.5, fine particulate matter capable of penetrating deep into the respiratory system and triggering health problems, exceeded the government-prescribed safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metre by seven to eight times in the capital.
It was 30 to 40 times the healthy limit of 15 micrograms per cubic metre set by the World Health Organisation.
Several cities across the Indo-Gangetic plains reported hazardous air quality. Neighbouring Ghaziabad (382), Gurugram (370), Noida (348), Greater Noida (474), and Faridabad (396) also reported hazardous air quality.
According to data from the Decision Support System, a numerical model-based framework capable of identifying sources of particulate matter pollution in Delhi, stubble-burning in neighbouring states, especially Punjab and Haryana, accounted for 37 per cent of the air pollution in Delhi on Tuesday. It is likely to be 33 per cent on Wednesday.
The Delhi government on Monday announced the return of its flagship odd-even scheme after four years anticipating further deterioration of air quality post-Diwali.
The odd-even scheme, under which cars are allowed to operate on alternate days based on their odd or even number plates, will be implemented between November 13 and November 20.
To protect the health of schoolchildren, the government also decided to suspend in-person classes in all schools, except for students in grades X and XII preparing for board exams, until November 10.
According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences' Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi-NCR, the region is likely to experience severe air quality for another five to six days.
Most Read In 24 Hours
Don't MissView All
Court of Inquiry ordered to ascertain the cause of accident
In the last assembly polls, held in 2018, the BJP had won on...
Says when there's good governance, anti-incumbency becomes i...