Delhi’s air quality remained in the “very poor” category for the second consecutive day on Thursday, 18 October, with several areas in the national capital nearing “severe” levels of pollution, according to the authorities.
The PM2.5 level (presence in the air of particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) touched a new high at 158 as authorities predicted further deterioration of air quality in the coming days.
The PM10 level (presence in the air of particles with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres) stood at 332.
The PM2.5 is said to have a greater impact than PM10 on health and is said to be more dangerous.
Delhi’s AQI Touches 315
The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi was recorded at 315, according to the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor” and 401 and 500 “severe”.
“Punjab Govt Didn’t Prevent Stubble Burning”
Alongside, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday accused the Punjab government of having “failed” to incentivise farmers to check stubble burning in the state, prompting Capt Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to term his charges as ‘nonsensical’ and ‘misleading’.
Badal had sought to know from the chief minister as to “why has his government failed to incentivise a single farmer to prevent stubble burning”.
Sukhbir, in his statement, had also asked Amarinder Singh as to why he was “indulging in politics of lies and deceit by photo ops with the prime minister to befool the farmers of the state”.
The chief minister met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on Thursday to press for Rs 100 per quintal compensation to farmers to check problem of stubble burning.
Amarinder Singh told Modi that the problem of stubble burning could get aggravated, despite various steps being taken by the state government, with the close of the harvest season, and needed to be urgently addressed.
The Shiromani Akali Dal chief said the chief minister should first give a report card of the utilisation of Rs 385 crore received from the Centre to manage paddy straw.
Delhi Govt Springs into Action
As the air quality worsened, Delhi’s Environment Minister Imran Hussain formed a six-member team to carry out surprise inspections in the city to check violations which contribute towards air pollution.
The minister said inspections would be carried out to check steps being taken by various bodies on the ground. He has also sought the details and schedule of working of the mechanical sweeping and sprinkling vehicles being operated by these bodies, including the PWD.
(With inputs from PTI.)