'Hazardous' air pollution in India's capital prompts emergency measures
08 November, 2018, 01:13
Delhi's air quality Wednesday oscillated between "poor" and "very poor" categories as authorities warned of severe deterioration of air quality even if "partial toxic crackers" are burned compared to past year.
"A child who is born in Delhi is taking in gulps of bad air which is equivalent to smoking 20 to 25 cigarettes on the first day of his life", said Arvind Kumar, a prominent Delhi lung surgeon.
About 9 per cent of PM2.5 pollution in Delhi was caused due to stubble burning, according to the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
The average volume of PM2.5 and PM10, or particles with a diameter less than 2.5 and 10 microns, across 35 regions in Delhi was 368 and 507 microgrammes per cubic meters, which was 14 times higher than the limit.
The EPCA's call to public comes as the city's air quality deteriorated in the last two weeks with the pollution reaching severe levels on Tuesday, prompting authorities to issue a slew of directions including ban construction activities along with halting operations of industries using coal and biomass as fuel between November 1 and 10.
Burning of farmlands in neighboring states of Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan, use of older and more polluting vehicles and unfavorable weather conditions with low-speed winds which have failed to disperse pollutants, have all contributed to this alarming situation.
After a little improvement yesterday when wind picked up, air quality worsened early on Monday, with forecasts of worse to come over the next few days.
In Delhi NCR, the PM2.5 was recorded 237 and PM10 was recorded at 366, the CPCB data said.
Winds blowing from the northwest have been carrying biomass-burning pollutants, according to the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.
Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain urged people to help reduce pollution by celebrating a cracker-free Diwali. Pollution control measures at brick kilns.4.
The pollutants carried by mid-level winds gradually subside and mixes with the local pollution of Delhi-NCR. The air quality was poor in C-scheme and in Sethi Colony and Shastri Nagar, it was satisfactory. Other complaints included that of vehicular emission, traffic congestion, industrial emission, open or garbage burning, leaf burning, road dust, unpaved road, fire in landfill sites, air pollution from generators among others, it said.
Citizens Tuesday protested against the rising air pollution and submitted a letter to senior official of the Union Environment Ministry and the Delhi government, demanding their "Right to Breath" and faster implementation of a time-bound National Clean Air Program.
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