Air pollution level remains poor in New Delhi

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According to the Air Quality Index (AQI) data, major pollutant PM 2.5 is at 228 (poor) and PM 10 at 232 (poor) in Lodhi Road area.

Delhi's pollution level sharply spiked Monday as a thick haze engulfed the national capital ahead of Diwali due to high impact of stubble burning and pushed the air quality in the "very poor" category, authorities said. Authorities have warned of a spike in the pollution levels after Diwali on Wednesday even if "partially toxic crackers" are burnt compared to previous year.

Fire crackers are a traditional part of Diwali celebrations, and while air pollution is always a concern - this year's got more urgency. "Senior citizens, infants, and people who already have lung, heart and other illnesses (such as diabetes) are most vulnerable to the "very poor" air quality", read SAFAR's precautionary statement on Wednesday for Mumbai.

While increasing air pollutants make it hard to breathe, pollution on Diwali would add to the woes of residents.

On Monday, the AQI was recorded at 434 which falls in the "severe" category and was the highest of the season.

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Delhi's air quality is expected to deteriorate to "severe plus emergency" category after Diwali, SAFAR said. An AQI level between 0-50 is categorised as "good" while 51-100 is "satisfactory" and 101-200, 201-300 and 301-400 is in the "moderate", "poor" and "very poor" category respectively.

However, even if 50% of the total load of toxic fire crackers as compared to Diwali-2017 is added, the prevailing weather conditions will aggravate the high smoke level and make air quality to persist in "Severe" range for at least 2 day (8-9 November, 2018).

Assuming that only half of last year's amount of firecrackers are used, the lead pollutant PM2.5 - particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers - is expected to reach 575 a day after Diwali, the SAFAR report said. The ventilation coefficient is expected within 7000-8000 m2/s. Winds coming from north westerly direction bring influence of biomass burning pollutants in Delhi-NCR. An unidentified official of the pollution board said the recommendation was made as such vehicles cause heavy pollution, which could lead to a further decline in air quality.

Twenty-three out of 26 monitoring stations with AQI data across Delhi reported a severe pollution level, meaning most of the city's air would affect even the healthy people. An IIT Kanpur professor said weather conditions were being monitored to become favourable for creating artificial rains.