New Delhi: The air quality has deteriorated to ‘very poor’ category in the national capital and surrounding areas around due to low wind speed and marginal effect of stubble burning in the neighbouring states. The system of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) has predicted that the Air Quality Index will remain in the very poor category on Saturday. A slight improvement is predicted later.

SAFAR further said that wind speed at present is slow allowing the pollutant to accumulate.  The weather agency has advised people to avoid outdoor physical activities.

Several areas across Delhi also saw ‘severe-plus’ and ‘severe’ air quality due to a high level of particle pollution, which remained over 10 times the safe limit.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) was 337 or very-poor against 273 or poor or Thursday. The AQI at Anand Vihar was 407 and of Mundaka was 432, both under ‘severe’ category.

PM2.5, or particles with a diameter less than 2.5mm, is still the dominant pollutant. Despite dry and cool north-westerly winds, the air quality dropped to the average PM2.5 over 37 areas of Delhi recording 191 microgrammes per cubic meters, against 134 units on Thursday and 240 units on Wednesday.

Notably, the air quality in NCR has been reeling under the ‘very poor’ mark since October 24. On November 14, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority had advised a ban on all the private vehicles that run without compressed natural gas (CNG) in Delhi.

Considering the worsening air quality, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had earlier issued a directive to the city’s pollution control body to prosecute agencies and individuals who fail to comply with the guidelines to curb air pollution. The directive issued by the Supreme Court bench requested citizens to file their complaints about air pollution via social media.