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29 October 2018, 04:44 | Justin Tyler
Great Ormond Street is in an area where levels of fine particles are deemed dangerous to healthPETE MACLAINE EPA
With the air quality reduced to "very severe" in the Indian capital region, authorities are bracing for a major Hindu festival featuring massive fireworks that threatens to cloak New Delhi with more toxic smog and dust.
According to the data collated by the CPCB, Ghaziabad (404) recorded a severe pollution level, while Gurugram (399), Faridabad (376), Noida (385) and Greater Noida (391) all battled a "very poor" air quality on Saturday.
The air quality Index of Mumbai remains in the moderate category with PM 10 at 134, SAFAR said.
As the average air quality in the national capital region (NCR) inched towards severe levels, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday that the government has made a decision to initiate criminal prosecution against agencies which do not comply with the directives to check air pollution.
A CPCB-led task force has recommended to the Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority implementation of stringent measures from November 1 to 10, predicting further deterioration in the air quality ahead of Diwali. The stations recording the worst levels (AQI level above 400) included Mathura Road, Rohini, Mundka, Anand Vihar, Narela, Dwarka Sector 8, Bawana, Vivek Vihar and Sonia Vihar.
Twelve pollution monitoring stations in different parts of the city recorded severe air quality while 20 stations recorded very poor air quality, data showed.
These include shut down of coal and biomass factories, intensification of inspection by the transport department to check polluting vehicles and control traffic congestion in Delhi-NCR.
The task force warned that at the beginning of November, the situation may further deteriorate on account of localised emissions during the Diwali festival and regional contribution due to stubble burning.
"Delhi needs to reduce pollution by 74 per cent to meet clean air standards. Apart from that, winds in Delhi now don't have a definite direction", he added.
"The prevailing meteorological conditions are not very favourable for dispersal of pollutants for the next two days due to very low ventilation index and low wind speed", the IITM warned.
"Unless there are strong winds in the category of at least 20kmh, this pollution won't go away", said Mr Mahesh Palawat, vice-president of meteorology and climate change at Skymet Weather Services. "So, that might affect the quality", an environmental expert said.
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