Delhi’s air quality back to ‘very poor’ category, may deteriorate further

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NEW DELHI: After three days of relief, the air quality in the national capital again deteriorated into the "Very Poor" category in most places in the region on Wednesday.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the overall air quality of the national capital docked at 313 at 8 am, which falls under the 'very poor' category.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered as “good”, 51-100 as “satisfactory”, 101-200 as “moderate”, 201-300 as “poor”, 301- 400 as “very poor”, and 401-500 as “severe”.
On November 16, the air quality had improved to ‘very poor’ category and further to ‘poor’ category on November 17. Since then, it remained in ‘poor’ category until Wednesday.
According to the Air Quality Index (AQI) data by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), major pollutant PM 10 dominated at most places.
According to the report from the News Agency ANI, Ashok Vihar and Anand Vihar recorded docked at 309 which fell under the "very poor" category. Alipur which docked at 300 also fell under the "very poor" at 7 am.
Major pollutants PM 2.5 were at 210 in the "moderate' category and PM 10 at 204 in the "moderate" category, in Lodhi Road area.
Some areas like ITO (227), Okhla phase 2 (290) and Punjabi Bagh (286) remained in the "Poor" status.
The weather department has forecast shallow to moderate fog and wind speed of 6-8 km/hr for the next few days.
Earlier, the monitoring agencies had warned that the pollution levels are likely to spike from Wednesday as the wind speed is expected to slow down and cloud cover is likely to return.
Last week, Delhi had witnessed several problems as the air pollution touched 'emergency' levels.
Subsequently, Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government had ordered all schools in the national capital to remain shut till November 15.
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) had also directed schools in Delhi and NCR to remain shut until November 15.
People residing in National capital are reeling under the impact of breathing polluted air due to vehicular pollution, crop residue burning and climate change. They are using mask and scarves to cover their nose from the cocktail of dust and smog.
Earlier, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority had said that local sources of pollution, including stack emissions, dust, and burning of plastic and rubber waste, were the primary reason for deteriorating air quality in Delhi-NCR.
The medical practitioners across the city have advised people, who are suffering from breathing difficulties to avoid outside activities and recommended to use the mask. If anybody experienced unusual coughing, chest discomfort, wheezing or fatigue, then consult the doctor.
They also advised that to drink enough water to avoid dehydration and have fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain antioxidants to boost immunity.
From October 15, stringent measures to combat the menace of air pollution had come into force in the national capital and its nearby regions as part of the Graded Response Action Plan.
This plan includes increasing bus and metro services, hiking parking fees and stopping the use of diesel generator when the air quality turns poor.
Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that ‘Odd-Even scheme’ will be implemented in the national capital after Diwali, from November 4 to 15.
‘Odd-Even scheme ‘ is a flagship scheme of the Aam Aadmi Party government, aimed at combatting pollution. It was first implemented in 2015.
Under the scheme, four-wheelers with registration numbers ending with odd digits ply on odd dates and those ending with even digits ply on even dates.
On November 4, the Supreme Court had banned stubble burning in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh in view of severe air pollution.
It also banned all construction and demolition activities along with burning of garbage and waste in Delhi-NCR in the region.
The apex also directed that all those carrying out construction and demolition activities would be fined one lakh rupees. A penalty of 5,000 rupees would be imposed if anyone was found burning garbage and waste in the region.
A bench comprising justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said in case of any violation, the local administration and zonal officers would be held responsible.
It asked the Delhi government and the civic bodies to chalk out a plan to ensure removal of the waste dumped at open spaces and come up with a scheme to deal with the issue.
On last Friday, the Supreme Court had pulled up the Delhi government over the delay in tackling pollution and summoned chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Delhi over stubble burning that add to the problem in Delhi.
Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta observed that the governments in these states have failed to take necessary steps in curbing pollution levels and has yet again sought the personal presence of the Chief Secretaries of these States on November 29. They have also been asked to file an affidavit on steps taken by them so far by November 25.
 

Image credit: Business Standard
 

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