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Delhi wakes up to dense haze as air quality turns 'severe' at multiple locations

Delhi wakes up to dense haze as air quality turns 'severe' at multiple locations
The air quality in several parts of Delhi reeled under the 'severe' category on Friday morning with Mundka recording the highest Air Quality Index (498), as per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

As the quality of air deteriorated, a thick haze blanketed the skyline of the national capital.

According to the CPCB, the AQI in the Lodhi Road area was recorded at 438, in Jahangirpuri at 491, in the RK Puram area and in IGI Airport (T3) at 486 and 473 respectively.

Air Quality Index (AQI) is a tool for effective communication of air quality status to people in terms, which are easy to understand. It transforms complex air quality data of various pollutants into a single number (index value), nomenclature, and colour.

The AQI from 0 to 100 is considered good, while from 100 to 200 it is moderate, from 200 to 300 it is poor, and from 300 to 400 it is said to be very poor and from 400 to 500 or above it is considered as severe, which affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases.

Moreover, the AQI at multiple locations in Noida also plunged to the 'severe' category with Sector 62, Sector 1 and Sector 116 recording 483, 413 and 415 respectively.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government on Thursday ordered for all the government and private primary schools to remain shut for the next two days.

In the wake of the worsening air quality, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) invoked the third stage of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) on Thursday.

Stage III of the GRAP is implemented when the AQI hits Severe in the range of 401-450. As part of its response to combat pollution the state government can impose strict restrictions on BS III petrol and BS IV diesel four-wheelers in certain areas and may suspend physical classes in schools for primary grade children up to Class 5. The Delhi government has since suspended primary school classes.

The sub-committee reviewed the air quality scenario in the region as well as the forecasts for meteorological conditions and air quality index made available by IMD and IITM.

According to an official release by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), the Delhi government has imposed a ban on construction activities in the entire National Capital Region (NCR).

However, exemptions have been made for the projects of the railway services, metro services, airports, inter-state bus terminals, defence-related activities, healthcare-related activities, etc, the release read further.

The government will also intensify the frequency of mechanised sweeping of roads and ensure daily water-sprinkling along with dust suppressants, added the official statement.

Activities including earthwork for excavation and filling including boring and drilling works will be banned.

As per the official release, a ban has been imposed on non-essential construction work, stone crushing and mining in the region.

Speaking to ANI, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said that a meeting of the concerned department would be held today to discuss the implementation of the GRAP stage III.

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