New Delhi: On Saturday morning, the air quality in Delhi-NCR region improved minimally and came out of the ‘emergency’ zone. The pollution levels, however, were still hovering in the ‘severe’ category. Though government agencies have forecast improvement in air quality over the weekend, it will still be in ‘very poor’ zone.
A Central Pollution Control Board official said: “The air quality has started improving. We are expecting further improvement by today evening. A western disturbance is approaching and this would help to flush out more pollutants. The air quality is likely to come down to very poor levels by Sunday.”
The 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) value at 7:30 am on Saturday was 420. It had touched 484 around 4 pm on Friday. The highest AQI value Delhi has encountered in recent years was 497, on November 6, 2016 when the national capital was engulfed in worst smog in 17 years.
On Thursday, authorities had to declare a health emergency and the Delhi government ordered shutting down schools till November 5. Construction activities in the national capital and its satellite towns have been completely banned till November 5 and anti-pollution masks were distributed among school children.