The Environment Ministry has attributed the dusty conditions to an upshot of dust storms from Rajasthan.
New Delhi: As a thick blanket of haze and dust enveloped Delhi and parts of the National Capital Region (NCR), the air quality nosedived to the "severe" level. The pollution masks are back and people have been advised to stay at home as the dusty conditions are likely to continue for the next few days. For Delhi, which is reeling under scorching heat, it's a double whammy as the dust in the air isn't allowing the heat to escape."There will be strong dust raising winds throughout the day. This will continue on Friday as well," an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.According to MeT department, the wind speed of 25-35 kilometres per hour has been predicted for the day. The humidity level was 49 per cent this morning and the maximum temperature is expected to be around 41 degrees Celsius.The PM10 level, presence of particles with diameter less than 10mm, was beyond severe at 796 in Delhi-NCR and 830 in Delhi particularly, leading to hazy conditions.According to the CPCB, the air quality index (AQI) — a measurement of the concentration of toxic particulate matter in the air — at several places in Delhi remained beyond the 500-mark, with east Delhi's Anand Vihar area recording a PM10 level of 929 and PM2.5 level of 301 this morning.An AQI between 0-50 is considered "Good", 51-100 "Satisfactory", 101-200 "Moderate", 201-300 "Poor", 301-400 "Very Poor", and 401-500 "Severe".All major construction agencies, municipal corporations and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) have been to ensure water sprinkling to mitigate the impact.The Environment Ministry has attributed the dusty conditions to an upshot of dust storms from Rajasthan.The air quality in Delhi deteriorated beyond the "severe" level because of a ground-level dust storm in western India which increased coarser particles in the air, the Central Pollution Control Board data showed.Experts suggest that the pollution in Delhi has been worse than the last smog episode in November last year. The CPCB, however, said the pollution of this season was different from November last year when both PM2.5 and PM10 had spiked. The current increase in levels of pollution is mainly due to drastic increase in coarse particles in air which has caused a spike in PM10 level, it said.CommentsA Sudhakar, CPCB member-secretary, has warned residents that the pollution level is expected remain like this for at least three to four days and there could be discomfort or breathing difficulties due to the pollution.A report by the World Health Organisation last month said India was home to the world's 14 most polluted cities, with Delhi ranked sixth most polluted.
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