Delhi’s air quality index continued to remain in the “poor” category on Monday even as the pollution levels were expected to rise further in the Capital, NDTV reported. The AQI of Delhi was 218 at 3 pm on Tuesday, government-run monitoring agency System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, or SAFAR, said.
SAFAR said the air quality was likely to be in the “very poor” category by Wednesday because of a reduction in wind speed and a change in the wind direction. The 24-hour average AQI in the Capital was 244 on Monday. It was 254 on Sunday and 287 on Saturday.
An AQI between 0 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”.
In view of the rising pollution in Delhi, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority on Monday asked Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments to be ready to shut down thermal power plants that do not meet the requirement laid down in 2015. On the same day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to hold monthly meetings with the chief ministers of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab on the matter.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee had last week banned the use of electricity generator sets of all capacities – whether running on diesel, petrol or kerosene – in order to curb the pollution. The committee had also declared the whole of the Union Territory of Delhi as an Air Pollution Control Area. It said Delhi faces grave air pollution during winters, and the levels of pollutants like PM 2.5 and PM 10 cross the prescribed standards for ambient air quality. The committee added that operation of electricity generator sets running on petrol, diesel and kerosene has been identified as one of the sources of air pollution in the Capital.
Delhi’s air pollution typically worsens during the winter months from October to December. The AQI was in the “poor category” for six consecutive days after it began to decline on October 7 for the first time in over three months. It deteriorated to the “very poor” category for the first time this season on October 13.