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Delhi's pollution likely to enter 'emergency' zone

Christian Fernsby |
Raging stubble fires in neighbouring states, fall in the temperature and wind speed pushed Delhi’s air quality into the "severe" category on November 12.

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System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), government's air quality monitor, said pollution levels in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) are expected to enter the "severe plus" or "emergency" category on November 13.

Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, tweeted, "Forecast (green) suggests air quality in severe+ category by Nov 14."

Meteorologists said the national capital recorded on November 12 morning a minimum temperature of 11.7 degrees Celsius, the season's lowest so far. It is two notches below normal for this time of the year.

A dip in wind speed and temperature makes the air cold and denser, leading to accumulation of pollutants, said Kuldeep Srivastava, head of the India Meteorological Department's regional weather forecasting centre.

According to the Central Pollution Control Bureau (CPCB), Delhi's overall air quality index (AQI) read 425 at 4.00 pm and 437 at 9.00 pm on November 12. This was more than 360 recorded at 4.00 pm on November 11.

The levels of PM 2.5 tiny particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter that can enter deep into the lungs and even the bloodstream shot up to 337 micrograms per cubic metre, breaching its emergency threshold of 300, by 9.00 pm in Delhi-NCR. In case of PM2.5, the safe level is 0-60 micrograms per cubic metre.

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