New Delhi: The haze over the national capital signals both the advent of winter months as well as the return of extremely polluted air quality. On Friday morning, local residents woke up to soaring levels of air pollution with PM 2.5 levels at Punjabi Bagh rocketing to 'hazardous' category.
According to AQI monitoring service, PM 2.5 reading at Punjabi Bagh at 0600hrs was 429 - exponentially higher than the safe limit of 60 stipulated by the World Health Organisation. Most other areas like RK Puram, Siri Fort, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and Mandir Marg fared almost as badly with PM 2.5 levels between 200 and 330. Shockingly, Mundka area registered PM 2.5 levels at an absolutely alarming 697 at 0700hrs.
The air quality over the city has been steadily deteriorating in recent days and a respite may not be in the offing any time in the near future. Pollution levels had sky-rocketed last year after Diwali but this year, it has risen exponentially almost two weeks before the festival. One of the major reasons for the polluted air is the raging fire at Bhalswa landfill site while environmentalists also blame burning of stubble in neighbouring states and existing weather pattern for the toxic air over Delhi.
Meanwhile, local authorities claim to have pressed the action button.
News agency PTI reported on Thursday that South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has decided to act against burning of leaves and garbage. SDMC will also begin night patrolling to check on such instances.