Air quality turns ‘very poor’ as haze hits city

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The rest of the five monitoring stations showed "poor" air quality, which the CPCB says can cause breathing discomfort to most people on prolonged exposure. The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) recorded the day's Air Quality Index (AQI) as 332, which falls in the red zone.

The CPCB has warned that wind may move northerly and north-westerly during Diwali that may lead to further deterioration in Delhi's air quality.

The PM 2.5 - the pollutants with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres - level was recorded at 225, the highest this season.

Some of these recommendations include shut down of coal and biomass factories, intensification of inspection by the transport department to check polluting vehicles and control traffic congestion in Delhi NCR during November 1-10.

"As per Air Quality Forecast the Air Quality is likely to be in very poor to severe category at various places in Delhi for next two days".

Authorities have issued an advisory, asking people to avoid strenuous outdoor activities and minimise use of private vehicles. "The dominant pollutant of AQ Index is PM2.5 and PM10", the IITM said.

"Pollution would reduce in the next couple of days if the weather condition remains same. Apart from that, winds in Delhi now don't have a definite direction", he added.

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Sunday's maximum temperature settled at 32.1 degrees Celsius, while the minimum temperature was recorded at 15.6 degrees Celsius, both the season's average.

Fugitive dust from construction and demolition (C&D) work is also said to be a major reason for air pollution in Delhi-NCR.

It also recommended people to go for shorter walks instead of jogs, keeping windows closed and wearing masks while stepping outside.

Stubble-burning is done by farmers, the resultant smoke takes the form of smog when it reaches Delhi and regions around it leading to a spike in air pollution.

As the average air quality in the national capital region (NCR) inched towards severe levels, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday that the government has chose to initiate criminal prosecution against agencies which do not comply with the directives to check air pollution.

The most recent air pollution data from the World Health Organisation released in March said India was one of the world's 10 most polluted countries.