**New Delhi: ** The National Capital saw a sudden spike in the air-pollution on Saturday, a day after Dussehera.
As stubble-burning stepped up in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, the combined effects of Dussehera and meteorological reasons such as low winds in Delhi gripped the city in haze with many regions heading towards ‘severe-plus’ or ’emergency level’ air quality.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi on Saturday was 326 — marked very-poor — against 276 on Friday, at about 4pm.
While Dwarka sub-city turned out to be the most polluted with ‘severe-plus’ air-quality and an average AQI of 405, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Earlier on Friday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed his disappointment that the Centre along with the state governments of Punjab and Haryana did not do anything to manage stubble.
Kejriwal warned that he Delhi will turn into a ‘gas chamber’ soon.
The average presence of major pollutant PM2.5 or particle with diametre less than 2.5mm, also spiked in past 24 hours, mostly credited to festival where hundreads of Ravana effigies were set ablaze to mark Dussehera and the festival traffic.
The average PM2.5 concentration was 186 units across 48 regions of NCR against 129 units merely 24 hours back. The average PM2.5 across 36 areas of Delhi was 191 units at around 5 pm, against 133 units on Friday.
Dwarka sub-city, where incidents of garbage burning intensified the air-pollution levels, saw 239 units of PM2.5 concentration, about seven times the international safe standards.
The permissible range or PM2.5 is 60 as per national standards and 25 by the international standards.
Meanwhile, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) labelled NCR’s air quality as toxic and recommended keeping relief medicine handy. SAFAR advised everyone to avoid tiring outdoor physical activity.
Across NCR, Bhiwadi in Rajasthan turned out to be the most polluted, with severe air-quality with AQI of 434. The AQI 314 in Ghaziabad, 326 in Faridabad, 317 in Greater Noida, 374 in Gurugram and Noida was 319 respectively.