The national capital of India, Delhi, once again grapples with an alarming deterioration in its air quality, prompting the reimplementation of stringent measures under the graded response action plan (GRAP III) by the Commission for Air Quality Management. Environment Minister Gopal Rai sounded the alarm as the air quality index (AQI) plummeted into the ‘severe’ category.
According to data released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi’s AQI stood at a staggering 447, categorizing it as ‘severe,’ signaling hazardous levels of pollution permeating the city’s atmosphere.
Rai, addressing a press conference, highlighted the abrupt decline in air quality owing to a combination of factors, notably the dip in temperature and a reduction in wind speed. “Despite the AQI being in the ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ categories in recent days, a significant deterioration has occurred, plunging Delhi into the ‘severe’ category at an AQI of 400. Consequently, the CAQM has reenforced restrictions under GRAP III,” Rai emphasized.
The Air Quality Index provides a scale for understanding pollution levels, with ranges from ‘good’ to ‘severe-plus.’ Delhi’s recent AQI of 447 underscores the severity of the crisis and the urgent need for intervention.
In response to the escalating pollution, the central government swiftly imposed strict measures. A ban on non-essential construction activities and the operation of BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheelers in the Delhi-NCR region was ordered on Friday to curb the worsening AQI situation.
The Commission for Air Quality Management attributed the sudden spike in pollution levels to adverse meteorological conditions characterized by fog, haze, and critically low wind speeds. These unfavorable weather patterns have exacerbated the accumulation of pollutants in Delhi’s air, contributing significantly to the city’s escalating daily average AQI.
The CAQM, a regulatory body mandated to devise pollution mitigation strategies, acknowledged the urgency of addressing these challenges. The reimplementation of GRAP III signifies a concerted effort to combat the imminent environmental crisis and protect the health and well-being of Delhi’s residents.
The severity of Delhi’s air quality crisis warrants collective action and urgent measures to mitigate pollution. As authorities continue to monitor the situation closely, collaborative efforts and stringent regulations remain imperative to alleviate the detrimental impact of pollution on public health and the environment.