Delhi chokes with dusty haze, air quality ‘very poor’

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy

[India], Nov 2 (ANI): Delhi is once again inching towards the worst time of the year in terms of air pollution, as the region’s air quality is getting increasingly toxic.

The government-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) on Friday said overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of the national capital with Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 was detected at 375, which falls in the ‘ very poor’ category.

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 or hazardous.

At Mathura road, major pollutant PM 2.5 was detected at 514 (hazardous), while in Lodhi road and Ayanagar area, the air quality dipped to the ‘poor’ category at 263 and 382, respectively. However, in Pitampura, the air quality plunged to ‘severe or hazardous category’ at 426 AQI.

Speaking to ANI, Baljit Singh, a sports enthusiast, said the toxic air is making it impossible for him to maintain his health, adding that the situation has worsened in the last 2-3 years. “I regularly do Yoga at Lodhi Garden every day, but the air is so toxic that I am unable to breathe properly. The government must do something about it,” he said.

The organisation, in its advisory, has urged people to avoid all outdoor activities and keep medicines handy if asthmatic. “Avoid burning of wood, candles or incense. Do wet mopping to reduce dust. Stop any activity if you experience any unusual coughing, chest discomfort, wheezing or fatigue,” it added.

The Indian Meteorological Department has forecasted that the minimum and the maximum temperature in the capital will be around 16 and 31.1 degree celsius, respectively, throughout the day. The humidity will be 47 per cent with wind speed 10 kilometres per hour, it added.

Taking cognisance of the crisis in Delhi, Union Minister for Environment and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan on Thursday had stated that 35 air-filter equipped vehicles are being launched for the public, adding that 52 teams comprising Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) officials have been constituted to survey different parts of the city to assess the root cause of pollution in the Delhi/National Capital Region and take stringent action.

The Judiciary, too, has stepped up to curb the menace of air pollution in the country, which is not only making the air toxic but also impacting the health of people residing in Delhi and nearby regions.

On October 31, the apex court had issued an order clarifying that only green crackers can be sold in the Delhi-NCR region during the festive season. In Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and other southern states, crackers can be burst between 4 AM and 5 AM and from 9 PM to 10 PM during Diwali, the court added.

In May this year, Greenpeace India had published 13 recommendations for battling the rising air pollution crisis in India. In its report, the organisation stated, “Set ambitious timelines for reducing PM 2.5 levels and meeting national air quality standards across the country and formulate a policy program that is capable of delivering the targets. Implement the emission standards for coal-based thermal power plants as notified in December 2015 as soon as possible without any further delay and Disclose data on air pollutant emissions from all major point sources in the country on public platforms.”

The organisation had also suggested aggressive shutdown of old polluting power plants and prioritising renewable energy sources over coal-based power plant for future electricity demand. “Formulate stricter emission standards with time-bound implementation targets for all industries. Clean fuel for cooking to every household keeping in perspective the affordability and accessibility to every household moving them away from pollution fuels at household levels. Increase the budget and reach of programs to replace solid fuels in households. Implement stricter vehicle emissions standards and fuel quality standards, BS-VI across the country by 2020,” it added.(ANI)

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