New Delhi: The city’s air quality again touched the “severe” range on Thursday. A thick blanket of smog gripped Delhi and the visibility during the day dropped to 600-800 metres on Thursday against 1,200-1,800 metres on Wednesday.

At 10 am, Delhi recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 407. Thirty-three of the 39 air quality monitoring stations in the national capital recorded air pollution levels in the severe category. The 24-hour average AQI was 372 on Wednesday. Ghaziabad (454), Greater Noida (404) and Noida (426) also recorded severe air quality at 10 am.

Green think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said the ongoing smog episode is a public health emergency.

“This requires urgent emergency action on key combustion sources (vehicles, industry, waste burning) and dust sources (construction and roads) to prevent further trapping of pollution when there is no wind to blow this away,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy, CSE.

RK Jenamani, senior scientist at India Meteorological Department (IMD), said, “Whenever there is an intense cyclonic depression, the visibility gets reduced over Delhi and surrounding areas. It’s mainly because vertical dispersion of smoke gets reduced.”

System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research said, “The air quality is likely to be in the upper end of very poor to severe category for the next two days.”

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.


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