NEW DELHI: Air pollution in Delhi spiked a day after the festival of lights Diwali and reached to 'severe' category at PM2.5 with the city's overall air quality index (AQI) touched 506 on Monday afternoon, according to government's air quality monitor System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR). The highest AQI was recorded at the University of Delhi area which climbed as high as 740.
The AQI in Delhi University area has crossed the overall air quality index level of 2018, which had crossed the 600-mark after Diwali last year. This comes even as SAFAR had observed less than expected dip in the air quality level on Monday morning. The city's overall air quality index (AQI) was predicted to be touching the 'severe' category between 1 am and 6 am on Monday, primarily due to firecracker emissions, unfavourable weather conditions, and increased stubble burning.
The air pollution levels were recorded only marginally high even though people continued bursting crackers until late on Sunday night. The national capital's AQI at PM 2.5 stood at 327 at 11 pm on Sunday, and it dipped to 323 at 3:30 am on Monday, around the time when it was expected to enter the 'severe' category as per SAFAR.
After Delhi University, the PM 2.5 levels in Chandni Chowk area as at 2 pm on Monda were recorded to be second-highest at 677, while Noida region recorded an AQI at 674.
In Pusa road area, the AQI as at 2 pm on Monday was recorded at 491, while the AQI on Lodhi road stood at 432. Around the international airport area of New Delhi, AQI stood at 464. AQI at Ayanagar was recorded at 482 and at 555 for Dhirpur. AQI at Mathura road stood at 428.
Gurugram has recorded the lowest air pollution levels with its AQI standing at 383 on Monday afternoon. An AQI between 0-50 is considered 'good', 51-100 'satisfactory', 101-200 'moderate', 201-300 'poor', 301-400 'very poor', and 401-500 'severe'. Above 500 is the 'severe-plus emergency' category.
The levels of PM10 - a tiny particulate matter of diameter 10 or less than 10 microns that can enter deep into the lungs - had on Sunday reached as high as 515 micrograms per cubic metre in Anand Vihar.
In Wazirpur and Bawana, PM 2.5 levels had crossed the 400-mark. After last year's Diwali, Delhi's AQI had crossed the 600-mark, which is 12 times the safe limit. The AQI post-Diwali was 367 in 2017 and 425 in 2016.