New Delhi: Delhi’s air quality is expected to turn “severe” today as it remained in the category of “very poor” on Saturday. But the situation will not be as bad as last year. According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the National Capital Region’s overall air quality index (AQI) is expected to enter the “severe” category for a short period of time on Sunday night, but the situation would be not as bad as last year.

The SAFAR said the highest impact of firecracker emissions was expected early on Sunday from 1-6 am. Apart from firecracker emission, stubble burning in neighbouring states is another contributing factor to Delhi pollution. On Sunday, the share of smoke from crop residue burning in the city’s PM2.5 concentration is predicted to be 19 per cent.

According to a PTI report, last year, Delhi’s AQI stood at 642, which falls in the “severe plus emergency” category, on November 8, the day after Diwali. In 2017, the AQI post-Diwali was 367.

“If 50 per cent of the total load of firecrackers (average of Diwali 2017 and 2018) is added, the AQI may plunge to the severe category for a short period,” Safar said, adding that the situation would be not as bad as last year.

Several measures have been put in place to combat the post-Diwali pollution. The Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority has banned construction activities at night in the NCR from Saturday-Wednesday. It also directed the closure of coal-based industries, barring power plants, in Faridabad, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Sonepat and Bahadurgarh during the period.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered “good”, 51-100 “satisfactory”, 101-200 “moderate”, 201-300 “poor”, 301-400 “very poor”, and 401-500 “severe”. Above 500 is “severe-plus emergency” category.

(With PTI Inputs)