0850 GMT July 23, 2019
Delhi woke up to 'severe' air quality on Tuesday under a blanket of thick haze, as pollution levels breached the permissible standards by multiple times, indiatimes.com.
By 10 a.m., the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded 'severe' air quality, meaning the intensity of pollution was extreme.
In light of the sudden dip, measures under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) such as a four times hike in parking fees may be rolled out by the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority.
The last time air had turned 'severe' was on Oct. 20, a day after Diwali festivities, when firecrackers were set off.
Since then, the pollution monitors have been recording 'very poor' air quality, which is comparatively better than 'severe' but alarming according to global standards.
A 'very poor' air quality index comes with the warning that people may develop respiratory illness on prolonged exposure while exposure to 'severe' air affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing respiratory or cardiovascular diseases.
The CPCB has said high moisture level in the air has trapped emission from local sources and hanging low over the city in the absence of wind.
"Total calm conditions, marked by the complete absence of wind has led to the situation. The moisture has trapped emissions from ground level sources," Dipankar Saha, CPCB's air lab chief, said.
According to private weather forecasting agency Skymet, wind from neighboring Punjab and Haryana, where paddy stubble burning is in full swing, has started entering the city during the afternoon hours.
The CPCB also recorded 'severe' air quality in the neighboring Noida and Ghaziabad.