Delhi struggles to breathe as smog smothers NCR

Delhi and the larger National Capital Region (NCR) woke up to thick smog this morning as visibility dipped and a sudden chill set in.

Citizens complained about difficulty in breathing and of eyes burning as they stepped out in the smoggy environment.

Indian government data, interestingly, said that Delhi-NCR’s air was not as bad as it was being felt. Sameer, an app run by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPBC), said that Delhi-NCR’s Air Quality Index was 345, as of 11 am today.

The Central Pollution Control Board’s Sameer app measured Delhi’s Air Quality Index at 345

AQI, which is a way of measuring the overall level of air pollution, is measured by Indian agencies on a scale of Good to Severe.

  • Good: AQI of 0-100; minimal impact on health
  • Satisfactory: AQI of 0-100; minor breathing discomfort to sensitive people
  • Moderate: AQI of 101-200; breathing discomfort to people with asthma, lung and heart diseases
  • Poor: AQI of 201-300; breathing discomfort to most people on prolonged exposure
  • Very poor: AQI of 301-400; respiratory illness on prolonged exposure
  • Severe: AQI of 401-500; affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases

System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research, another Indian government agency, measured the pollution in Delhi-NCR at a slightly higher level than the CPCB, putting Delhi’s AQI between 400 and 500, again as of 11 am today.

According to the CPCB, Delhi’s air was ‘very poor’. According to SAFAR it was ‘severe’.

Safar measured Delhi’s air quality as Severe

Now, there’s another monitoring source — a website called The website seems to be run from China and it provides its own Air Quality Index for a few major cities in the world.

The website’s page for Delhi says that it sources the air quality data for Delhi from the CPCP, the state government’s Pollution Control Committee, and something called the Citizen Weather Observer Program.

How does it do the sourcing? We do not know. What we do know is that the website measured Delhi’s AQI at over 900.

The China-based website called Delhi’s air hazardous; however we do not know how it measures air quality

However, readers must note that there is no global standard for measuring AQI. How India measures its AQI may be completely different from how a website in China might measure.

The classification of the AQI is also different. India has its own classification. Others, like, have their own. The website, for example, calls the air quality of a city “hazardous” when the AQI crosses 300.

Highly polluted air is an annual affair in Delhi-NCR. The causes of the bad air are several: Government inaction, vehicular and industrial pollution, stubble burning in North India and weather patterns.



News credit : Indiatoday

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