Smog engulfs Indian capital, air quality plunges to 'severe' category

The prescribed standards of PM 2.5 and PM 10 are 60 and 100 respectively. Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 31, 2016, 05.44 AM (IST)

As smoke caused by Diwali fireworks blanketed the Indian capital, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said the city's air quality has plunged to 'severe' category. 

The monitoring stations recorded the level of respirable pollutants, PM 2.5 and PM 10, at 283 and 517 micrograms per cubic metre respectively around 8 PM on Sunday, which violated the safe limits by multiple times. 

The prescribed standards of PM 2.5 and PM 10 are 60 and 100 respectively, but the recent pollution levels carry the risk of harming people's respiratory system as the ultra fine particulates can embed deep into the lungs and also enter the bloodstream.

Samples from the monitoring stations at Pusa Road, Mathura Road, Dhirpur, Delhi University, Pitampura as well as neighbouring Noida had air quality in the 'severe' zone.

Delhi pollution control committee's (DPCC) real-time readings were also indicative of the increasing levels of pollution with the rise in the numbers of crackers going off.

Pollution peaks in the national capital during Diwali as a hazardous mix of noxious gases and respirable pollutants hang very close to the surface due to low temperature and near-stagnant wind movement.

(WION with inputs from PTI)