The air of Delhi at its worst for the season; Noida the worst of India

NEW DELHI: Delhi had its worst air so far this season on Friday. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) rated the contamination at an AQI of 484, similar to the historical maximum of 497 recorded on November 6, 2016. The fate of the other NCR cities was similar, with AQI touching 500 in Noida, 496 in Ghaziabad and Greater Noida, 479 in Faridabad and 469 in Gurugram.

The CPCB central control room showed PM2.5 in Delhi crossing the most severe level of 300 micrograms per cubic meter and recorded 319 micrograms per cubic meter at 3 am on Friday. According to SAFAR, the forecasting agency under the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Union, stubble burning contributed 44% to the burden of PM2.5. PM10 also broke the most severe mark of 500 micrograms per cubic meter. The safe standards for these ultrafine contaminants are, respectively, 60 and 100 micrograms per cubic meter. At 8 p.m., the PM2.5 and PM10 readings were, respectively, 380.2 and 569.6 micrograms per cubic meter.

There is not much to wait with the weather department saying that the air quality will probably remain bad until at least Sunday. “The wind speed increased a little on Friday night. However, no substantial improvement is expected before Sunday morning. In fact, the level of pollution could also be severe on Sunday, ”said Kuldeep Srivastava, an IMD scientist.

The president of EPCA, Bhure Lal, wrote to the main secretaries of Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana and UP and led the cessation of construction activities, hot mixing plants and stone crushers in Delhi, Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida until the morning of November 5. All coal and other fuel-based industries that had not been switched to natural gas or agricultural waste would also remain closed in Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Noida, Bahadurgarh, Bhiwadi, Greater Noida, Sonipat and Panipat until the morning of 5 November.

Lal said festivals were approaching, but banned the use of firecrackers. He said Diwali showed that fireworks resulted in accumulation of toxins in the air.

Gurugram had its first severe level contamination on Friday (AQI 469), as did Manesar (AQI 427). The Haryana State Pollution Control Board immediately requested all district administrations, industries, construction companies and regional officials to comply with EPCA bans. A notice was also issued to the education department to restrict students' outdoor activities. HSPCB member secretary S. Narayan told TOI: We are also taking measures such as spraying water and reducing road dust.

The AQI touched the 500 mark in Noida around 5pm on Friday and shared with the neighbor Ghaziabad the distinction of being the most polluted cities in the country. Officials of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board warned that the level of impurities could increase at midnight because there is no ventilation. UPCCB official Anil Singh said: While we are taking measures to mitigate dust contamination in Noida with water sprinklers and other measures, a low wind speed is causing a continuous accumulation of pollutants.