A public health emergency has been declared after air quality dropped to the “severe” category on the Air Quality Index in Delhi and the National Capital Region on Tuesday. The Indian Medical Association declared Delhi in a state of public health emergency, the organisation’s president Dr KK Aggarwal told ANI. “Schools should be shut and people must avoid stepping out,” Aggarwal said.
In areas close to Delhi Technological University in North Delhi, an air quality index value of 441 was recorded on Tuesday, Hindustan Times reported citing figures from the Central Pollution Control Board. Air quality was “very poor” in East Delhi’s Anand Vihar, while areas close to Burari crossing in North Delhi were relatively better with an Air Quality Index of 364.
The level of PM 2.5 – particulate matter in the air that is smaller than 2.5 microns – touched 452, while PM10 rose to 336, reported The Indian Express. The visibility in the city on Tuesday morning dropped to 200 metres, according to Hindustan Times.
Delhi’s overall Air Quality Index on Monday was 354 and it was 368 on Sunday, The Times of India reported. Ghaziabad and Noida remained NCR’s worst-affected areas, recording “severe” category air quality.
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More than 20 flights at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport were delayed or affected after authorities shut the runway owing to the smog.
Ahead of Diwali, the Supreme Court had banned firecrackers in the NCR. The air quality in the Capital this Diwali season was the cleanest in the past three years, according to a report released by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research. However, the city’s air quality had turned “severe” the day after Diwali, for the first time this year.