New Delhi: Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 422, in the ‘severe’ category, on Thursday morning at 9am as calm local winds and a northwesterly wind-direction combined to cover the capital in a haze of pollution and made breathing difficult.
The 24-hour average AQI was recorded at 426 (severe) as per Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) national bulletin at 4 pm on Wednesday. The air quality is also predicted to stay in the ‘severe’ category until Friday at least, after which it may improve to ‘very poor’.
The Decision Support System (DSS), affiliated to Earth sciences ministry, on Wednesday estimated the contribution of stubble burning to Delhi’s air to be around 38.3% — the highest this season; vehicular pollutants contributed 11.2%. Forecast for Thursday had shown that the estimated contribution of stubble burning to Delhi’s air could be around 27%, while the transport sector could contribute 12.5%.
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Several measures under stage 4 of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) continued to remain in place on Thursday. Curbs under stage 4 were introduced by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) on Sunday evening. The measures under it include a ban on diesel light commercial vehicles that are registered outside Delhi and are non BS VI, from entering the capital. Similarly, there is a ban on entry of trucks into Delhi, alongside a ban on plying of all diesel-Medium Goods Vehicles (MGV) and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) in the capital. Under this category, all linear construction projects such as highways, roads and flyovers have also been stopped.