The air quality of Delhi on Monday morning was “very poor”, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), but lesser than the “severe” category as predicted by government agencies.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) at 8.30 a.m. on Monday stood at 344, worst air quality this season, with all 36 stations for which data is available showing “very poor” AQI, as per CPCB data.
IGI Airport (Terminal 3) was the most polluted with an AQI of 391, followed by Nehru Nagar (377), Jahangirpuri (361) and Rohini (361). According to the CPCB, prolonged exposure to “very poor” air quality can lead to “respiratory illness”.
Government-run monitoring agency SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research) has advised people to avoid outdoor activity during early morning and after sunset as well as prolonged or heavy exertion. People should go for a short walk instead of a jog, take more breaks and close windows of rooms, it said.
“Stop any activity level if you experience any unusual coughing, chest discomfort, wheezing, breathing difficulty, or fatigue,” the advisory said.
Last October, the Supreme Court banned the sale, use, and manufacture of crackers that were not “green”. Though “green crackers” were neither manufactured nor available in the market last year, this Deepavali, “green crackers” were available.
On Friday, SAFAR predicted that the air quality of Delhi was likely to spike to “severe” category in the early hours of Monday due to the effect of firecrackers on Deepavali night. It had also said that it would be for a short period with about “half” the magnitude of Deepavali in 2018.
The prediction was made with the assumption that emissions due to firecrackers will be 50% of average firecracker emission of 2017 and 2018. SAFAR had also said that higher boundary layer winds are likely to flush out the expected high impact of firecracker emissions.