New Delhi, October 07: With PM10 levels in Delhi-NCR standing at 225 microgram per cubic metre, the national capital's air quality was recorded in the poor category for a brief period on Wednesday morning, according to the Central Pollution Control Board. PM10 is the particulate matter with a diameter of 10 micrometres and is inhalable into the lungs. These particles include dust, pollen and mold spores. The current level is the highest in over three months, according to CPCB data.
The city recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 207 at 10 am, which falls in the poor category. On Tuesday, Delhi recorded a 24-hour average AQI of 178, which falls in the moderate category. It was 179 on Monday. An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor, SAFAR, had said the air quality may turn poor by Thursday due to unfavourable meteorological conditions and a spike in farm fires in Punjab, Haryana and the neighbouring border regions. The fire count was 298 on Monday, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government on Monday launched a massive anti-air pollution campaign. Chief Minister Kejriwal said he himself will review the situation daily. A war room is being set up at the Delhi Secretariat to monitor the steps being taken to deal with high levels of air pollution in winters. Starting October 15, stricter measures to fight air pollution will also come into force in Delhi and its neighbourhood as part of the Graded Response Action Plan, which was first implemented in Delhi-NCR in 2017.
These measures include increasing bus and metro services, hiking parking fees and stopping use of diesel generator sets when the air quality turns poor. When the situation turns severe, GRAP recommends closure of brick kilns, stone crushers and hot mix plants, sprinkling of water, frequent mechanised cleaning of roads and maximising power generation from natural gas. The measures to be followed in the emergency situation include stopping entry of trucks in Delhi, ban on construction activities and introduction of the odd-even car rationing scheme.