The overall air quality in Delhi on Wednesday morning improved but was still in the “poor” category, with the Air Quality Index (AQI) at 202, data on SAFAR-India’s website showed. On Tuesday, the 24-hour average AQI in the national capital was 220. On Monday, it was 263.
What is Delhi’s AQI today?
As per the latest data from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the air quality around Delhi University was recorded at 312 (very poor) as of 10 a.m., while the IIT area in New Delhi was at 225.
As per SAFAR-India, the air quality stands at 145 (moderate) this morning in areas including Signature Bridge and Akshardham.
Meanwhile, Noida recorded an AQI of 256 (poor) and Gurugram 156 (moderate).
In a statement, it said that the predominant surface wind is likely to come from Northwest directions in Delhi with wind speeds 12-16 kmph becoming calm in the evening, with clear sky and mist in the morning on October 26.
What is AQI?
The AQI is a tool for effective communication of air quality status to people in terms that are easy to understand. There are six AQI categories, namely good, satisfactory, moderate, poor, very poor, and severe.
Each of these categories is decided based on the ambient concentration values of air pollutants and their likely health impacts (known as health breakpoints). According to the AQI scale, the air quality check between 0 and 50 is “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 450 “severe”.
Delhi’s plan to tackle air pollution
Delhi’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Monday said that the second phase of the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) has been implemented in Delhi to reduce the effect of increased pollution.
“The cold has started increasing in Delhi and the speed of the wind has decreased, this may result in an increase in pollution…The particulate matter is staying near the ground. The second phase of Grap has been implemented in Delhi…A meeting has been called with all the concerned departments to discuss the execution of the Grap phase 2,” Rai told news agency ANI.
“The weather is not in our hands but the sources need to be controlled so that the effect of pollution on the health of the people is reduced as much as possible,” he added.
Rai also said that the Delhi government is working on an action plan to control pollution ahead of Diwali.
What is Grap?
The Centre’s Pollution Control Board (PCB) had earlier come up with its Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) measures to deal with air pollution.
Under Stage I measures, construction and demolition activities on a plot size of or above 500 square meters are halted. The restaurants and hotels are directed to stop using coal and firewood in tandoors. Moreover, the government undertakes automated cleaning of the roads for dust management. It is activated when AQI is “poor”.
Under Stage II, the parking fees are hiked to reduce the usage of private vehicles. To tackle the high number of daily commuters, the frequency of local buses and Metro is increased. It is initiated when AQI is “very poor”.
Under Stage III, BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheelers are prohibited from entering Delhi-NCR, in addition to other measures. Moreover, all construction activities, except government projects, are halted. The entry of commercial vehicles registered outside Delhi is prohibited in the capital. This stage is activated when AQI is “severe”.
Under Stage IV, all construction and demolition activity is banned. The authorities are asked to devise a plan for online classes for schools and remote work for the offices. The government kicks off this stage when the pollution levels are “severe-plus”.