Delhi’s air quality remains ‘severe’ for fourth day, Kejriwal calls for meeting

Air quality in Delhi. [File Photo]

New Delhi: On Monday morning, pollution levels in Delhi were recorded around seven to eight times above the government-prescribed safe limit, as a toxic haze persisted over the region for the seventh consecutive day.

Stringent curbs, including a ban on entry of polluting trucks, came into effect in Delhi on Sunday as its air quality entered the ‘severe plus’ category for the second time in three days due to unfavourable wind conditions and a sharp rise in farm fires across north India, as reported by PTI.

The 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI), recorded at 4 pm every day, worsened from 415 on Saturday to 454 on Sunday, prompting the Centre to implement all emergency measures mandated under the final Stage IV of its air pollution control plan called the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

GRAP categorises actions into four stages: Stage I – ‘Poor’ (AQI 201-300); Stage II – ‘Very Poor’ (AQI 301-400); Stage III – ‘Severe’ (AQI 401-450); and Stage IV – ‘Severe Plus’ (AQI 450). The city’s AQI stood at 440 at 7 am on Monday.

Several cities in neighbouring Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh have also reported hazardous air quality.

Neighbouring Ghaziabad (413), Gurugram (369), Noida (403), Greater Noida (396) and Faridabad (426) also reported hazardous air quality at 7 am.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), conditions favourable for dispersion of pollutants are likely to develop Tuesday night onwards under the influence of an upcoming western disturbance, weather systems that originate in the Mediterranean region and bring unseasonal rainfall to northwest India.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will chair a high-level meeting today over the pollution crisis. The meeting, which was scheduled today, will be attended by Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai and senior officials from concerned departments such as transport, MCD, Delhi Police and Delhi Traffic Police, among others.

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