New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In a marginal improvement from yesterday, the overall air quality in the national capital improved to the lower end of the 'very poor' category on Sunday morning with the Air Quality Index (AQI) being recorded at 386, according to the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality forecasting agency SAFAR. On Saturday, the 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 499, the worst this season so far. The AQI was 471 on Friday, 411 on Thursday.

However, the SAFAR has predicted that the air quality in the national capital will gradually improve more in the next two days as winds at the transport level (925 Mb) are slowing down resulting in a lesser intrusion of farm fires related pollutants into Delhi.

"However, as local winds are becoming calm and minimum temperature is decreasing further, preventing efficient dispersion of pollutants leading to improvement of air quality to upper end of very poor category or lower end of severe category," the forecasting agency said in its forecast.

Meanwhile, the pollution level in the National Capital Region (NCR), especially Noida and Gurugram, also remained worrisome. Noida reported AQI in the 'hazardous' category at 536, while the air quality in Gurugram was at the upper end of 'severe' category at 423.

According to the government agencies, AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 are marked as severe/hazardous.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted: "mainly clear sky and moderate fog in the morning" for Sunday and Monday. "The contribution of biomass burning in PM2.5 concentration is likely to be approximately 10 per cent on November 13-14 as winds are favourable for transportation of pollutants," it added. The mercury in the capital city has dropped to 11.6 degrees Celcius on Sunday, IMD said.

To tackle increasing air pollution levels in the national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced a 'pollution lockdown' under which the schools would remain physically closed for a week from tomorrow. All construction activity in Delhi has also been shut down from November 14 to November 17.

Government office employees will be asked to operate from home (WFH) at 100 per cent capacity for a week, while private offices will be issued an advisory to go for WFH (work from home) option as much as possible, stated the Chief Minister. Kejriwal's announcement came after the Supreme Court asked the Centre and Delhi government to immediately take some steps to reduce the air pollution in the national capital and termed it an emergency situation.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan