Misty morning in Delhi air quality drops to very poor

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Data by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) showed several areas in the NCR, including Gurugram and Ghaziabad, recorded AQI in the "severe" category. The stations recording the worst levels (AQI level above 400) included Mathura Road, Rohini, Mundka, Anand Vihar, Narela, Dwarka Sector 8, Bawana, Vivek Vihar and Sonia Vihar.

The PM2.5 level in the city was recorded at 236 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3), the highest of the season so far.

The measures include halt of all construction activities involving excavation, civil construction, stone crushers and hot mix plants in Delhi & other NCR during 1 and 10 November.

Authorities attribute the dip in air quality to localised factors like construction dust, vehicular pollution as well as regional factors like pollution due to stubble burning from Punjab and Haryana.

It also recommended intensifying efforts of transport department to check polluting vehicles and controlling traffic congestion.

According to the data by the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the overall air quality of Delhi is set to deteriorate in the coming days, remaining a few points below the "severe" category.

The pollution level in the national capital has deteriorated to alarming levels in the last two weeks.

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The task force also advised public to avoid strenuous outdoor exercises to minimise their exposure to the toxic air, and cut down the use of private cars during the first 10 days of November.

Stubble burning from Punjab and Haryana on Saturday caused 32% of pollution in Delhi, according to a report by the SAFAR.

In July, according to a new study which ranked the national capital third in a list of cities reporting most deaths due to air pollution, it was revealed that almost 15,000 people died prematurely in Delhi due to pollution by fine particulate matter in 2016. While both are considered major atmospheric pollutants, PM2.5, in particular, poses greater harm as its fine particles can easily be inhaled into the respiratory tract.

"I am expecting it to rise further, because the air quality is worsening and pollution is an ever increasing problem here", he said. "Unless there are strong winds in the category of at least 20kmh, this pollution won't go away", said Mr Mahesh Palawat, vice-president of meteorology and climate change at Skymet Weather Services.

"Delhi needs to reduce pollution by 74 per cent to meet clean air standards".

The health advisory is specifically for people suffering from heart or lung disease, older adults and children to avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.