New Delhi, Dec 22: Air quality in Delhi tonight plunged to the 'very poor' level with real-time readings of PM 2.5, the tiniest and most damaging of all the particulate matters, breaching the 'severe' category in areas across the national capital.
Around 10 PM, in three stations of System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), PM 2.5 fell in the severe category which affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases. Delhi Pollution Control Committee's (DPCC) reading of Anand Vihar station, one of the most polluted spots in the city, had PM 2.5 at 534 micrograms per cubic metre at 9.50 PM while PM 10 was at 853.
The corresponding safe limits are 60 and 100. Mandir Marg and Punjabi Bagh, localities far away from each other, had PM 2.5 levels at 271 and 315 micrograms per cubic metre, nearly 5 times above the safe limit respectively. R K Puram's PM 10 was at a staggering 1135, 10 times above what is considered safe.
Central Pollution Control Board's National Air Quality Index was not available and its official website continued to display almost two week figures.
Very poor quality air signifies PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels between 351 and 420, and 211 to 252 micro gram per cubic metre while severe is declared when PM 2.5 and PM 10 cross 253, 421 micro gram per cubic metres respectively. PM 2.5, microscopic in size, is considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the best indicator of the level of health risks from air pollution.