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Delhi-NCR air worsens to ‘severe’, set to deteriorate

Both PM2.5 and 10 get into the lungs and cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, but PM2.5 is more dangerous because it mixes with blood stream.

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New Delhi, Oct 30 : The air quality of Delhi and neighbouring areas deteriorated on Tuesday, turning “severe”, with a rise in particle pollutants overnight, mostly due to the local sources of pollution.

A Supreme Court-appointed committee has already ordered the pollution control panels of Delhi and neighbouring states to stop all the dust generating construction activities from November 1 to 10, when the pollution is suppose to peak.

At 4 p.m., the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi, which includes 36 regions, was 401 considered “severe”. The AQI was 451 at Ghaziabad, 426 at Gurugram, 408 at Noida and 413 on Faridabad, all considered “severe”. Greater Noida was the least polluted with near severe AQI at 394, on a scale of 0 to 500.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the “severe” levels affect healthy people and seriously impact those with existing diseases.

The city was covered in a smoky haze due to a high volume of trapped pollutants that affect visibility and hurt eyes of commuters. Experts warned that episodes of smog will begin in a couple of days.

“It is haze since ozone is at a good level. We cannot call it smog,” K.J. Ramesh, head of India Meteorological Department (IMD) told IANS. Haze is the reflection of sunlight from particulate matter (PM). Smog, which is far more dense, is a mixture of moisture and PM, and allows for limited visibility.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality is set to deteriorate further from November 1, and the Diwali this year is likely to be more polluted.

“Currently Delhi has trapped pollutants because dispersion is negligible. There is hardly any wind, so the pollutants are from local sources and dust,” Mahesh Palawat, director Private Weather forecasting agency Skymet told IANS.

According to Met officials, the local pollutants are largely a combination of meteorological reasons and dust generating from vehicles and renovations of buildings due to festival season.

On Tuesday, almost all places in the NCR saw a sharp rise in the major pollutants — PM2.5 and PM10 — particles in the air with diameters less than 2.5mm and 10mm, respectively.

Across 35 active pollution monitored area in Delhi, the average concentration of PM2.5 and PM10 was 263 microgrammes per cubic meters and 472 units by 7 p.m. The same PM2.5 and PM10 concentration across 48 monitored area of National Capital Region (NCR) was 257 units and 457 units.

Air quality is considered “severe” when either AQI is between 401 and 500 or PM2.5 is between 250 and 300 or the PM10 levels are between 430 and 500, according to CPCB.

The safe limit for PM2.5 is 60 units as per national standards and 25 units according to the international standards. For PM10, up to 100 units is safe from national standards and 50 units international standards.

“Both PM2.5 and 10 get into the lungs and cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, but PM2.5 is more dangerous because it mixes with blood stream,” Shambhavi Shukla, researcher with the CSE, told IANS.

She said some international studies have noted that particle pollutants have a direct effect on life expectancy.

Anand Vihar in east Delhi was the most polluted region with AQI of 457. While Dwarka, Rohini, Jahangirpuri, Wazirpur, Delhi University North Campus, Mundaka were among other most polluted regions.

IANS

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Himachal Pradesh : Three houses gutted in fire in Mandi

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Himachal Pradesh, Jan 23 : As many as three houses were gutted in a massive fire at Mandi district in Chhatri market area on Wednesday.

A major fire broke out in Chhatri market area of Mandi district. Fire tenders are present at the spot.

Fire fighting operation is underway. No injuries or casualties have been reported yet.

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Road links in Himachal hampered after snowfall; hundreds stranded

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Shimla, Jan 23: Road links in Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday were hampered a day after widespread snow and rain, blocking highways and link roads, while hundreds of commuters were stranded across the state, officials said here.

Snow hit vehicular movement beyond Shimla town, while traffic on the Pathankot-Chamba highway was also badly hit. The entire Kinnaur district is cut off. However, there was no loss of life.

After two consecutive days of snow, most of the roads in the state interiors remained closed to traffic, stranding travellers and commuters.

Road links to Kinnaur district and towns in Shimla district such as Narkanda, Jubbal, Kharapathar, Rohru and Chopal were cut off, a government official told IANS.

While picturesque tourist town Manali recorded 30 cm of snowfall, it was 39.6 cm in Kalpa and 30 cm in Manali. Dharamsala had 53 mm of rainfall.

“There is no movement of traffic towards Kinnaur district on the national highway five beyond Tapri. Work is on to restore electricity in Kinnaur. The Pangi valley in Chamba district is also cut off from the rest of the state,” an official said.

State capital Shimla saw 44.5 cm of snowfall and a low of zero degree.

The higher reaches of Kullu, Mandi, Kinnaur, Shimla, Sirmaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts have been experiencing snow.

Keylong town in Lahaul-Spiti district saw over three feet of snowfall.

Officials said bad weather has affected the road network in the higher reaches of Kinnaur, Shimla, Chamba, Kullu and Sirmaur districts and efforts were being made to reopen the roads.

There are chances of moderate snow in the state till Thursday, an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official told IANS.

The government has advised people not to venture to the high hills of Kullu, Shimla and Kinnaur districts owing to avalanche threat.

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Cloudy Delhi morning, 25 trains delayed

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New Delhi, Jan 23: It was a cold and cloudy morning in the national capital on Wednesday with the minimum temperature recorded at 8 degrees Celsius, the Met said. At least 25 Delhi-bound trains were delayed due to dense fog in several parts of northern India.

“The sky will remain partly cloudy throughout the day with chances of light rain or thundershowers,” an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.

A fog cover delayed 25 trains heading here by two to six hours.

The humidity at 8.30 a.m. was recorded at 100 per cent. Visibility in Safdarjung area at 8.30 a.m. was recorded at 100 metres while in the Palam area the visibility at 7.30 a.m. was recorded at 100 metres.

The city recorded 27.8 mm rain in last 24 hours.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the overall air quality here continued to be ‘moderate’ as on Tuesday, with the air quality index (AQI) being 99.

On Tuesday, the maximum temperature was recorded at 19.4 degrees Celsius, two notches below the season’s average, while the minimum was 12.5 around five notches above normal.

IANS

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