The city was blanketed in thick smog on a grey, brooding Wednesday that saw pollution levels reach nearly 14 times the safe standard. An overcast sky added to the general gloominess with visibility so poor that it completely engulfed the city’s impressive skyline and buildings as little as 200 metres away went beyond a cloak of haze.

Concentration of PM 2.5 touched the 800 mark in the afternoon, which was almost 14 times higher the national safe standard. The average 24-hour level of PM 2.5 (measured between 4pm on Tuesday and 4pm on Wednesday) was 423.62 micrograms per cubic metre (g m3), still seven times higher than the safe standard of 60.

According to officials at the Met department, the situation is going to get worse in the coming days. “If it doesn’t rain or wind speed doesn’t increase, the situation is likely to get worse. Better sunshine can also make a difference. It is expected that sunshine will be a little better on Sunday on wards,” said an official of Met department.

According to the data released by the CPCB, concentration of PM2.5 has constantly increased since Diwali (October 31). While the 24-hour average concentration of PM2.5 was 212.96gm3 on October 30 (from 2pm on October 29 to 2pm on October 30), it increased to 217.45gm3 on October 31. The level further rose to 328.15gm3 on November 1and reached 381.50gm3 on November 2. As per WHO, concentration of PM2.5 shouldn’t be more than 60gm3. However, other air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and ozone remained below the prescribed limit.

While Haryana Pollution Control Board blamed rise in pollution in Delhi for conditions in Millennium City , experts said the authorities have not taken enough measures to deal with the problem, primarily by not being able to check stubble burning at farms.

“There are certain emergency measures which authorities should have taken after Gurgaon reported an increase in PM 2.5 concentration. These could have included closing down polluting industries for 15-20 days, reducing vehicular traffic, making changes in school timings ,” said Niranjan Raje, member of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).

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