As fog engulfed the city on Wednesday, air pollution shot up to ‘unhealthy level’ — making it the most polluted day of the week so far. Met office has predicted light showers on Thursday, which could make the situation a little better.
The data available with the Central Pollution Control Board suggested the concentration of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 on Wednesday was at a level that was five times higher than what is prescribed as safe by World Health Organisation (WHO).
While the highest 24-hour average concentration of PM2.5 was 206.27 micrograms per cubic meter and 193.02 micrograms per cubic metre on Tuesday and Monday, respectively, it was 303.45 on Wednesday. The WHO’s prescribed limit is 60 micrograms per cubic metre.
Air quality index (AQI) on Wednesday also touched the 300-mark (considered ‘severe’ and may cause ‘respiratory illness on prolonged exposure’).
Met department expects the situation to get better on Republic Day. “While the maximum temperature has gone up, most parts of Delhi and NCR saw a foggy day on Wednesday. There is a forecast of light showers and thunderstorms on Thursday morning due to the formation of induced cyclonic circulation. The maximum temperature is also expected to come down slightly on Thursday,” said an official from the Met department.
Officials of Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) said they expect Thursday’s rain to bring down the level of air pollution. “Low wind speed in winters is primarily responsible for the increase in the air pollution level. Even light showers can clear the concentration of particulate matter in the lower atmosphere. However, the situation in Gurgaon as far better than its neighbouring cities such as Delhi and Faridabad,” said an HSPCB official.
As per the recently notified and enforced graded response system by the Environment Pollution Control Authority, appointed by the Supreme Court, when the level of PM2.5 touches the 300-mark and PM10 touches the 500-mark, emergency measures need to be enforced immediately. Some of the emergency measures include a strict ban on waste burning, closing brick kilns and stone crushers, mechanised sweeping of roads and banning the use of diesel gensets.