After two days of ‘severe’ air pollution, the air quality of the national capital improved slightly to the upper end of ‘very poor’ category on Saturday, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data.
The air quality index (AQI) of Delhi was 381 on Saturday, down from 454 on Friday and 450 on Thursday, as per the CPCB’s 4 p.m. daily official bulletin, which is considered the day’s official AQI.
The contribution of stubble burning in neighbouring States to PM2.5 — a chief pollutant — in Delhi was 21% on Saturday, down from 30% on Friday and 34% on Thursday, as per Central government-run monitoring agency SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research).
During winter, the contribution of stubble burning to PM2.5 levels in Delhi varies between 0 and 40%, depending on the number of farm fires and wind direction among other factors, said SAFAR.
The Capital’s air quality is likely to remain in the ‘very poor’ category from Sunday to Tuesday, according to the Central government’s Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi.
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Doctors said there is an increase in the number of patients coming to hospitals with respiratory issues due to air pollution.
“We are witnessing at least 10% increase in patients with acute respiratory illness post Deepavali. Most of them have some existing respiratory illness,” said Ritu Saxena, Deputy Medical Superintendent of Lok Nayak Hospital, largest Delhi government-run health facility.
Bobby Bhalotra, a consultant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said they have seen about 20% rise in patients with respiratory problems.