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Dense fog to cover Delhi; air improves to 'very poor'

Dense fog to cover Delhi; air improves to 'very poor'

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was recently quoted by new agency ANI as saying, "If the need arises, we will soon implement the odd-even scheme in the capital".

Many Delhi residents were forced to spend Christmas indoors this year as air quality remained at "severe to emergency" levels for a fourth day, in the Indian capital's worst smog crisis this year. Ministry of Earth Science agency SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research) said Tuesday that meteorological conditions are becoming slowly favourable and severity of air pollution is on a decline.

"Also we have to encourage environment-friendly vehicles like electric vehicles".

"There is a lack of political will to take required measures on a sustained basis to contain pollution levels", said Sunil Dahiya, a senior campaigner with Greenpeace India. Air quality in Faridabad and Noida was also recorded in the "severe" category. According to the SAFAR, the overall air quality in Delhi is expected to remain in severe range until Tuesday.

Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain convened a high-level meeting to review the implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), a strategy mandated by the Supreme Court to combat and mitigate air pollution in Delhi, and warned of strict action against officials failing to comply with directives.

At Lodhi road, the air quality index (AQI) was 315 with PM (particulate matter) 2.5 at 830 am.

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According to the state-run SAFAR, a thick blanket of smog engulfed the region on Tuesday morning as the air quality plummeted to the hazardous category with 423 in the morning.

In some parts of Delhi, pollution levels hit 654 on Monday, among the worst recorded this year, and visibility in some parts of the city was 200 metres, according to the weather department. In NCR, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Greater Noida and Noida recorded "very poor" air quality. On Saturday, the task force had advised against usage of private cars, especially those running on diesel, and asked people, especially those with respiratory ailments, to avoid exposure to this toxic air. "It will further improve a few notches by tomorrow as good wind speed will continue to disperse pollutants faster than that of accumulation due to colder condition and fog".

"If the room has windows, close them, if the air conditioner provides a fresh air intake option then choose it, avoid burning anything such as wood, candle or even an incense", it said. A ventilation index lower than 6,000 sqm/second, with average wind speed less than 10 kmph, is unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants.

Wind speed and other meteorological factors have made the situation "highly unfavourable".

The advisory also recommended frequent wet mopping and using masks known as N-95 or P-100 respirators only for outdoor activities.

"The ventilation index which allows dispersion (of pollutants) is extremely poor and it is expected that these conditions will prevail for the next two days", Lal said in the letter.


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