The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi has soared to 483 followed by Lahore at 371. Delhi’s air quality has become a cause of concern as it has reached the “severe plus” category due to a toxic haze that has continued to persist for around six consecutive days.
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POOR AIR QUALITY OF NATIONAL CAPITAL
The air quality in Delhi has deteriorated significantly. As per the reports, Kolkata and Mumbai have joined the list as the World’s most polluted cities with an AQI of 206 and 162 respectively. Air quality in the Delhi-NCR deteriorated in the last week due to a continuous drop in the temperature and the rise in post-harvest paddy straw burning in the nearby states of Punjab and Haryana.
An Air Quality Index between 0 and 50 is considered good whereas anything between 400 and 500 is said to affect healthy people as well as people with comorbidity cases. As per the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi’s air quality index rose over 200 points between October 27 and November 4 thereby entering the “severe plus” category. The air quality in Ghaziabad (410), Gurugram (441), Noida (436), Greater Noida (467) and Faridabad (461) comes under the category of hazardous air quality.
The main cause of the Delhi air crisis is the concentration of fine particulate matter, PM 2.5, which is around 523mg per cubic meter. This is around 104.6 times higher than that prescribed by the World Health Organization. According to the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), Delhi’s air quality is shortening lives by almost 12 years. The hazardous air condition in Delhi has caused many to forgo their outdoor activities. The Delhi Pollution Control Board’s analysis suggests that the city experiences maximum pollution from November 1 to November 15 as the stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana increases. The smoke from this burning accounts for a major part of the air pollution.
WHAT IS THE AIR QUALITY INDEX?
The Air Quality Index (AQI) shows the extent of air pollution in a particular geographic location. This shows the rankings of various cities and countries around the globe with poor-quality air in real-time. This helps government agencies to check the pollution level and adopt appropriate measures to control it as higher pollution levels affect the well-being of the inhabitants of the particular region.
The annual World Air Quality Report is published by IQAir. It compiles and compares millions of PM 2.5 measurements collected from various locations across the globe. As per IQAir reports, New Delhi is among the world’s most polluted cities. As of now, other most polluted cities are Chiang Mai (Thailand), Kathmandu (Nepal) and Shenyang (China).
MAJOR IMPACT OF DELHI’S POOR AIR QUALITY
New Delhi’s inhabitants breathe toxic air which is the root cause of many diseases like asthma, severe lung problems and even heart-related diseases. Doctors and Health experts are of the view that Delhi’s poor air quality affects the mental development of children. Experts are of the view that for the better health of the people, the AQI should be less than 60. The poor air quality not only affects the lungs but also the entire body. Air pollution not only affects the lungs but also the entire body along with diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
A crisis management plan has been put into action in the national capital which includes halting construction works, allowing work from home whenever possible and encouraging public transport, and a ban on polluting trucks and commercial four-wheelers. These emergency measures are mandated to be initiated and enforced to control air pollution.