Dozens of flights cancelled as dust storm catches north India off guard
The Indian government has issued an alert in view of severe dust pollution in Delhi and other north Indian states. In Delhi, emergency measures like stoppage of all civil construction activities have been made effective till June 17, Sputnik reported.
Sand blown from deserts of the western part of the country enveloped northern India for the fourth consecutive day; taking air pollution hazardous levels. More than seven thousands air travelers could not reach their desired destinations as dozens of domestic and international flight from Chandigarh and nearby airports remain suspended for the second consecutive day.
As per Skymet Weather, this layer of dust and sand is not a very unusual phenomenon and it usually happens during the pre-monsoon season though it is the intensity, spread and duration of the dusty weather that varies.
"At present, the situation is deteriorating over parts of Northwest India while Delhi is just on the fringes of this type of weather conditions. The reason for the sandy skies over the national capital and its adjoining boundaries can be attributed to the dust and sand particles being transported from the hotter regions of Rajasthan and Pakistan," Skymet, a private weather forecast agency said.
The dusty weather has made visibility poor across north India resulting in the cancellation of 32 flights on Friday from the Chandigarh airport.
"The visibility was around 2000 meter during the day. It improved to 3000 meters by 3.30 pm (Indian Standard Time). The weather was hazy," Surender Paul, Director, Met Department, Chandigarh, said.
Levels of PM10 — dust and larger particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers — exceeded 900 per cubic meter in parts of Delhi and over 700 per cubic meter on Thursday. The WHO considers 50 900 per cubic meter the maximum safe level for PM10. The weather department has noticed a considerable jump in carcinogenic matters in the last three days and they expect it reducing only after rain over this weekend.