Pollution levels in the national capital deteriorated to such an extent on Friday that breathing in the region became akin to smoking 20 cigarettes, a report said.
According to Berkeley Earth’s report, one cigarette in a day is equivalent to air pollution of 21.6 microgram per cubic meter.
On conducting a study in the year 2015, two professors found that when PM 2.5 level is 21.6 microgram per cubic meter, it equals to one cigarette.
Going by the study, PM 2.5 was at 453 microgram per cubic meter in Wazirpur on Friday, which equals to smoking 21 cigarettes. Breathing in Anand Vihar and Mathura Road was also equivalent to smoking 21 cigarettes, while it was 20 for Burari, Mundka, Rohini, Okhla Phase 2.
Delhi’s air quality on Thursday went off the charts to the “severe plus emergency” category. The city recorded the overall air quality index (AQI) of 642, according to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).
It said the city’s air quality has “improved significantly” since Thursday, but the recovery was slow due to low surface wind speed.
The AQI was recorded in the severe category at 453 on Friday, according to data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Twenty-six areas in Delhi recorded ‘severe’ air quality, while seven areas registered ‘very poor’ air quality, according to CPCB data.
On Friday, the PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) level was recorded at 303 µgm-3, five times the permissable limits.
The PM10 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres) level was recorded at 440 µgm-3, four times the permissable limits, according to SAFAR.
An AQI between 0 and 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”.
AQI above 500 falls in the “severe-plus emergency” category.