Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) on Monday improved from ‘severe’ to ‘very poor’ category and will remain in that range, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).

While winds coming from the north-west are favourable for transport of stubble-burning related pollutants to Delhi, the impact on Delhi’s PM2.5 (particulate pollutants) has reduced as wind speed has reduced, said a statement from SAFAR. Today’s share of crop residue burning is 30 per cent in PM2.5.

The AQI scale ranges from 0-50 which is ‘good’ and has minimal impact on health to 401-500 which is ‘severe’ and has a deleterious effect on even healthy people. ‘Very poor’ rating is in the 301-400 range which can cause respiratory illness with prolonged exposure, according to the index of the Central Pollution Control Board. (101-200 is moderate and 201-300 is poor).

Emergency meeting

Meanwhile, the Delhi government on Sunday appealed to the Centre to call an emergency meeting with the Environment Ministers of the neighbouring States. It also requested the Centre to implement solutions to curb stubble-burning. Farmers in the neighbouring States burn crop stubble to clear agriculture fields and this impacts Delhi’s air quality.

Also read: Delhi chokes, seeks Centre’s intervention to curb pollution

“I appeal to him to call an emergency meeting of the Environment Ministers of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to discuss and implement immediate solutions for this problem. Delhi can only get freedom from being choked when an immediate solution is implemented along with a long-term joint action plan in place to get rid of the problem,” wrote Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai in a letter to the Union Environment Minister Bhupinder Yadav.