The quality of air in Delhi-NCR seems to be getting worse by the day. Having now touched 6 level Air Quality Index (AQI), the situation could soon get completely out of hand if action is not taken immediately. It is for this reason that the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) has ordered that all private cars will be stopped from plying in Delhi if air pollution levels do not improve.
Bhure Lal, Chairman of EPCA has confirmed that should this situation continue at these levels, it will only be public transport system that will operate while all private vehicles will be ordered off the roads.
Burning of farm lands in neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, use of older and more polluting vehicles and unfavourable weather conditions with low speed winds which have failed to disperse pollutants, have all contributed to this alarming situation.
A total of 17 areas on the national capital have been declared with severe air quality. The cities AQI increased from 366 points on Sunday to 367 points on Monday and now stand at 398 points. Areas such as Ghaziabad are the worst with API at 444 points while in Gurugram it stands at 422 points and Noida at 410 points.
Data released by Central Pollution Control Board for air quality to be declared as severe, PM2.5 should be between 250-300 or PM10 should be between 450-500. The optimum levels of AQI should ideally be at 0-15 which is considered good, 51-100 is said to be satisfactory while 101-200 is marked as moderate. 200-300 is poor while 301 and beyond is considered very poor to severe.
This alarming situation is likely to escalate even further. A senior scientist at IITM, Pune has revealed satellite images of North India showing a large number of biomass fire spots in Delhi while weather experts also state that pollution in the region could escalate as western disturbances could hit the Himalayan region from October 31st onwards.
Health experts have warned persons of any excessive physical activity till the situation comes under control while doctors advise persons against going outdoors as air pollutants could lead to eye irritation and breathlessness.