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Delhi’s air quality in ‘very poor’ category, to worsen after Diwali

Delhi’s air quality was recorded as being in the ‘very poor’ category on Tuesday as winds continued to blow from regions where there is rampant stubble burning, authorities said, warning of a severe spike in pollution levels after Diwali even if “partial toxic crackers” are burnt compared with last year. Diwali is being celebrated in Delhi on Wednesday.

The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded as being 394 on Tuesday, which falls in the ‘very poor’ category, according to data by the Central Pollution Control Board.

On Monday, the AQI was recorded at the severe category of 434, the highest of the season, it said.

On Tuesday, the PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of fewer than 2.5 micrometres) level was recorded at 243, while the PM10 (particles in the air with a diameter of fewer than 10 micrometres) was recorded at 372 in Delhi.

In Delhi NCR, the PM2.5 was recorded at 237 and PM10 was recorded at 366, the CPCB data said.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51-100 ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘moderate’, 201-300 ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’ and between 401 and 500 ‘severe’.

Twenty areas in Delhi recorded ‘severe’ air quality, while 13 areas recorded ‘very poor’ air quality.

Authorities attributed the continuous pollution to the change in wind direction, which is now blowing from the direction of stubble-burning areas of Punjab and Haryana.

Winds coming from north-westerly direction were bringing the influence of biomass-burning pollutants in Delhi-NCR, which may continue up to Wednesday morning, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology said.

Delhi’s air quality is expected to deteriorate to ‘severe plus emergency’ category after Diwali, the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said.

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