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Delhi's air 'very poor', Saturday may be a little better

New Delhi, PTI: The national capital's air quality was recorded in the “very poor” category on Friday morning, while a government forecasting agency said some improvement is likely due to favourable wind speed.

On Thursday, the city's air quality index (AQI) touched “severe” levels for a brief period before slipping back into the “very poor” category.

According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitoring agency, SAFAR, the share of stubble burning in Delhi's PM2.5 pollution was 36 percent on Thursday -- the maximum so far this season.

Delhi recorded an AQI of 380 at 9:30 am. The 24-hour average AQI was 395 on Thursday. It was 297 on Wednesday, 312 on Tuesday, 353 on Monday, and 349 on Sunday.

Several monitoring stations, including at Shadipur (417), Patparganj (406), Bawana (447) and Mundka (427), recorded air quality in the “severe” category.

An AQI between 0and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'. On Thursday, PM10 levels in Delhi-NCR peaked to 424 microgram per cubic meter (µg/m3) at 10 am -- the highest this season so far, according to CPCB data. PM10 levels below 100 µg/m3 are considered safe in India.

PM10 is particulate matter with a diameter of 10 micrometers and is inhalable into the lungs. These particles include dust, pollen and mold spores. The levels of PM2.5 – finer particles which can even enter the bloodstream – were 231 µg/m3. PM2.5 levels up to 60 µg/m3 are considered safe.

NASA's satellite imagery showed a large, dense cluster of fires that covered most parts of Punjab and some regions of Haryana.

According to SAFAR, the share of stubble burning in Delhi's PM2.5 concentration was 36 percent on Thursday. It was 18 percent on Wednesday, 23 percent on Tuesday, 16 percent on Monday, 19 percent on Sunday and 9 percent on Saturday.

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