New Delhi, June 13: Delhi on Wednesday witnessed one of its hottest days this summer with the maximum temperature recorded at 41.2 degree Celsius. A thick haze engulfed the national capital region with the air quality deteriorating beyond “severe” level mainly due to dust storms from Rajasthan.

The dusty conditions are likely to prevail over the next three days, with chances of rain on June 17, according to Environment Ministry.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the current surface winds in Delhi are in the range of 5-6 m/sec and wind direction is West to South West, which is likely to continue over the next three days.

“Therefore, it is expected that dusty conditions will prevail in Delhi over the next three days. Major construction agencies, municipal corporations and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) have been alerted to ensure water sprinkling, as required,” it said.

The Environment Ministry has alerted major construction agencies, municipal corporations and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to ensure water sprinkling, and asked Delhi’s Chief Secretary to issue appropriate instructions in the matter to the agencies concerned.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court-appointed watchdog Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) issued an advisory to chief secretaries of states in Delhi-NCR asking them to take “urgent steps” for controlling dust pollution.

EPCA (Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority) member Sunita Narain said, “We are monitoring the situation and may impose ‘severe plus’ tomorrow if things do not improve.” The decision by the EPCA comes amid high pollution levels in Delhi mainly due to dust storms from Rajasthan, as the air quality in the city deteriorated beyond “severe” level today.

The air quality in Delhi deteriorated beyond the “severe” level because of a ground-level dust storm in western India which increased coarser particles in the air, the Central Pollution Control Board data showed.

The CPCB data showed that the PM10 (particles with diameter less than 10mm) level was beyond “severe” at 778 in Delhi-NCR area and 824 in Delhi particularly, leading to hazy conditions and limiting visibility.

The CPCB said the pollution of this season was very different from that of last year. In November last year, both PM2.5 and PM10 had spiked which was posing serious health hazard. However, the current increase in levels of pollution is mainly due to drastic increase in coarse particles in air which has caused a spike in PM10 level but PM2.5 is not as high as that of last year.

(With PTI inputs)