New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: After hitting an eight-month low on Tuesday and reaching the 'very poor' category, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi improved marginally on Wednesday, but remained in the 'poor' category. As per the recordings by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the national capital's Air Quality Index stood at 276, in the 'poor' category at 8 am today.

Since the air quality deteriorated from yesterday, a smoky haze has surrounded the atmosphere in Delhi. The CPCB also said that a considerable rise in Prominent Pollutants -- PM2.5 and PM10 -- was also recorded in the national capital, largely caused by the slow winds and low temperatures, that allowed the accumulation of pollutants.

According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences' Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi, the air quality is likely to improve to the moderate category by Thursday.

The deterioration of air quality is considered to be caused due to stubble burning in neighbouring states, however, the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi, said that the increase in farm fires in Punjab, Haryana and neighbouring regions of Pakistan, have a marginal impact on the capital’s air quality.

The air quality index of the national capital turned foul and mounted to 'very poor' category at 304 on Tuesday morning, with northwest district recording the most polluted air, according to the Central Pollution Board's data. The last time the air quality hit such a poor level was on February 12 when the AQI was 320. It was 261 on Monday, 216 on Sunday and 221 on Saturday.

The air pollution reaches a crescendo in Delhi-NCR every winter, when pollution from stubble burning combines with the suspended water droplets in the lower atmosphere to form a thick blanket of noxious smog, thus creating health hazards for the residents.

As per the pollution control board, out of the 36 pollution monitoring stations, the air quality index in as many as 19 stations is in the 'very poor' category, 14 stations recorded the index in the 'poor' category, one recorded it in the 'moderate' category.

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'.

Starting Thursday, stricter measures to fight air pollution will also come into force in Delhi and its neighbourhood as part of the Graded Response Action Plan, which was first implemented in Delhi-NCR in 2017. The measures under GRAP include increasing bus and metro services, hiking parking fees and stopping use of diesel generator sets when the air quality turns poor.

Posted By: Talib Khan