Delhi is the most polluted city in the world with an Air Quality Index (AQI) reading of 527, according to a report by private weather forecasting agency Skymet. The report also named Kolkata and Mumbai on its list, as the fifth and ninth most polluted cities, respectively, with AQIs of 161 and 153. The alarming revelations come barely two weeks after a real-time air quality ranking report by IQ Air Visual also called the national capital the world’s most polluted city.
The severity of the crisis was highlighted by the Environment Pollution (Control & Prevention) Authority (EPCA) on Thursday after it ordered schools, and all industries not running on clean fuels, to shut down for two days.
In its report, published late on Friday evening, Skymet said the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital had been “hazardous” for the past nine days – the longest such spell since AQI record-keeping was started.
The Skymet report also revealed dangerously poor air quality levels at various places around Delhi, including the upscale Lodhi Road area (AQI of 660) and Faridabad (AQI of 708). Other areas were AQIs were measured were Moti Nagar (AQI of 650) and Paschim Vihar (AQI of 629).
An AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 is marked as severe/hazardous.
Air quality in Delhi and surrounding areas has deteriorated steadily since the Diwali weekend, leaving the city covered in a thick fog of poisonous fog. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which rules Delhi has repeatedly blamed stubble burning in neighbouring states like Punjab and Haryana for exacerbating the problem. Last month Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called Delhi a “gas chamber”.
The Supreme Court, which has ordered affected state governments and the centre to work together to address the problem, reprimanded Chief Minister Kejriwal’s government today and said Delhi was “suffering badly” due to rising pollution levels.
The AAP had re-introduced the ‘odd-even’ scheme of road-rationing from November 4 to November 15, but the top court has questioned the efficacy of the initiative.