Poor air quality in NCR; here's what you can do
Owing to a change in the direction of the wind, Delhi's air quality remained poor for the second day in a row. According to officials, the overall air quality index (AQI) in Delhi at 10am was found to be 245, which falls in the poor category. Meanwhile, Ghaziabad and Gurugram recorded even worse air quality. Here are the details.
Air quality categories and related AQI readings
An Air Quality Index (AQI) reading of 0-50 is considered 'good' air quality, while a reading of 51-100 is considered 'satisfactory'. 101-200 is considered 'moderate', 201-300 is considered 'poor', 301-400 is considered 'very poor', and 401-500 is considered 'severe'.
Wind flowing from stubble-burning areas is responsible
On Saturday, Gurugram and Ghaziabad recorded 'very poor' air quality, with AQI hitting 336 and 302, respectively. According to officials from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the drop in air quality in Delhi and its adjoining areas is resultant of the wind now flowing from stubble-burning areas in Haryana and Punjab towards the national capital.
The changes noticed is "usual" for this period
"This is the period of monsoon withdrawals and a low pressure system in the Arabian Sea is developing. Such large scale processes tend to calm wind speed, which is usual for this time. This tends to increase pollution levels," explained SAFAR Project Director Gufran Beig.
Despite dust storm predictions, air quality expected to be stable
Earlier, it was predicted that a massive dust storm would hit the national capital and would lead to a further deterioration of air quality in the NCR. However, as of now, there are no indications of a big, incoming storm, so the air quality situation is expected to be relatively stable. That said, authorities are closely monitoring the situation for any unexpected changes.
What you can do to stay healthy and safe
Given the poor air quality, it is advisable to remain indoors, especially if you have respiratory problems. In case remaining indoors isn't an option, it is highly recommended that you use a certified pollution mask. Pollution masks come in five categories - N95, N99, N100, P95, and P100. Higher numbers indicate better PM2.5 filtering capabilities. P category masks additionally filter oil-based pollutants too.