Day-long smoke haze leaves Delhi gasping for breath
The 24-hour air quality index (AQI) was at “severe” with an index value of 485, worst for the season and higher than the post-Diwali AQI of 445. Meteorology and Central Pollution Control Board officials described it as “smoke haze” and not “smog.” That, however, was little consolation to people. The day passed without the Delhi government or the Centre announcing any emergency measures though the two remained engaged with the issue.
The lieutenant governor called a high-level meeting to discuss the situation with the chief minister and the ministers of the departments concerned. Delhi has recorded a “severe” AQI with just two “very poor” days in between since Diwali on October 30.On Saturday , Anand Vihar’s AQI remained 500 constantly for several hours, possibly be cause an AQI above 500 is not even charted. Any concentration above 250 micrograms per cubic metres is graded as “severe” whereas concentrations at most locations monitored by DPCC and CPCB remained above 500 micrograms per cubic metres all through the day , shooting up to 700 to 850 micrograms per cubic metres often.
“I have lived in Delhi since 1991 and never seen anything like this before. This is of a different proportion altogether,” said an environment department scientist.