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Shrouded in smog, Delhi continues to gasp for air

Diwali has been over but Delhi's air quality continues to be in the "severe" category despite experts predicting that it would improve to "very poor" by Wednesday.

System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said levels of Particulate Matter (PM) 10 breached the 500 mark in Delhi. With no wind to disperse pollutants, pollution remained trapped close to the ground.

Air quality is expected to remain 'severe', though below the 500 mark, on Thursday. The levels on Friday are expected to see a little improvement, with PM 10 levels expected to drop closer to 400, officials said.

NCR was no better as in Gurgaon a thick haze covered the city all through Wednesday, with officials confirming it was smog as opposed to the misconception that it could be fog.

"The concentration of PM 2.5 in the air has increased steadily over the last three days. Its prescribed standard is a reading of 60, but in the last 24 hours, between 6 pm on Tuesday and 6 pm on Wednesday, the average reading has been 445.86. In the 24 hours prior to that, the reading was 322.55," said Haryana Pollution Control Board.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had to cancel a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, which was scheduled to discuss measures to control air pollution, following the detention of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. Sisodia was detained by police while he was on his way to meet the family of an ex-serviceman who committed suicide over the issue of One Rank One Pension (OROP).