A layer of haze hung over Delhi and its suburbs on Thursday morning as fuming farm fires, fall in wind speed and temperatures is resulted in air quality reaching the worst level since 2019. The skies were acrid and heavy while people complained about watery eyes and itchy throats.
Experts stated that calm winds and low temperature contributed to unfavourable meteorological conditions added with smoke from farm fires in neighbouring states led to a dense layer of haze on Wednesday night. The air quality index in the national capital shifted into severe zone.
PM10 is particulate matter with a diameter of 10 micrometers and constitutes of dust, pollen and mould spores. According to CPCB data, round 8:00 am, the PM10 levels in Delhi-NCR were at 561 g/m3 (microgram per cubic meter) which is the highest since 15th November 2019, then it was observed to be 637 g/m3. The levels of PM2 which are finer particles that can even enter the bloodstream were 347 g/m3. PM2.5 levels up to 60 g/m3 are considered a safe level.
It was observed that the haze on Wednesday evening, decreased the visibility to 6000 meters at the Safdarjung Observatory while blurring the landmarks from view. On Thursday, it was 1.200 meters. An Air Quality Index (AQI) of 461 at 8 am and 279 at 10 am on Wednesday was recorded in Delhi.
Adding to the existing issues, a large number of people also burst crackers to mark the festival of Karva Chauth across Delhi-NCR region. Medical experts suggested that amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, air pollution has turned to be a major health concern for the 2 crore citizens of the National capital.