Close on the heels of Beijing, India’s capital New Delhi too is undergoing one of the worst air pollution with smog liekly to envelope the entire city for a week from tomorrow. Categorised under ‘very poor’, Sunday is likely to bring the visibility to near zero with high levels of suspended particulate matters in air.
The average air quality levels in Delhi are hovering above the WHO prescribed safety level of PM 2.5, sometimes going up to PM 10, where fine particles can enter the respiratory system and damage the pulminory system of humans. The measured particles in air stand at 218 and 359 micrograms per cubic metre for PM2.5 and PM10 as opposed to the safe limits of 60 and 100, said meteorological department.
WHO says any levels above PM 2.5 are the indicators of health risks from air pollution while Beijing and Delhi are reeling under poor and very poor levels of air pollution. Dr SK Peshin, Deputy Director General of Meteorology, Delhi told HT:“Air quality will fluctuate between poor and very poor. It is not as bad as last year due to fairly strong wind movement, essentially westerlies, which is aiding in dispersal of the suspended particulate matters.”
While situation is expected to persist today and tomorrow, Peshin is optimistic about improvement in the air quality despite “increase in fog on December 20 and 21”.
China, on the contray, is undergoing its worst air pollution and has issued the second red alert in Beijing from Saturday to Tuesday with schools closed, chimney turned off and vehicular traffic reduced.The Delhi government is toying with the idea of ‘odd-even’ restrictions on vehicles from January 1, 2016 to improve the situation.