Delhi's air quality turned 'severe' for the first time this season

04 November, 2018, 03:22 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • People take desperate measures to fight polluted air. File

The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was 401, falling in the "severe" category, the highest this season, Central Pollution Control Board officials said.

As authorities warned that the air quality would severely deteriorate from next week, MyRightToBreathe, a citizen's group shot off a letter to the EPCA, suggesting additional steps that could be taken to curb pollution, which included putting in public domain emission levels from all industries in Delhi-NCR and urging employers to encourage office-goers to work from home till 10 November. The order does not apply to power plants in NCR (except Badarpur) and waste to energy plants.

On Wednesday, despite a slight improvement due to winds, the air quality was still "severe" in many places.

The Delhi government also told the Supreme Court on Thursday that out of 1.10 crore vehicles registered in the national capital, 40 lakh "overage" vehicles more than 15 years old in case of petrol and over 10 years old for diesel have been de-registered by the transport department. Civil construction has also been suspended, besides closure of all stone crushers and hot mix plants generating dust pollution.

Only Delhi has over 10 million vehicles and the number is going up every year.

Four areas in Delhi marked "severe" air quality whereas 29 areas recorded "very poor" air quality, as per a CPCB data.

Haryana's Gurugram had an AQI of 427, while Faridabad and Noida had 407, making them the three most polluted cities in the country on Thursday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) chairman Bhure Lal said that private vehicles may not be allowed to ply on roads if air pollution continues to worsen in the national capital.

Air pollution can also cause childhood cancers, asthma, poor lung function, pneumonia and other types of acute lower respiratory infection, the report said.

"There is increased burning of paddy straw in Punjab and Haryana, the direction of the wind is now from the northwest".

The Ministry has formed 52 teams to undertake extensive visits to all the areas in Delhi and NCR to check the pollution sources and penalize the violators.

In Geneva today, the United Kingdom government has further committed to take action in bringing down particulate matter in the country, the most harmful air pollutant, promising to halve the number of British people living with concentrations of particulate matter above the World Health Organization guideline of 10 μg/m3 by 2025. "Data revealed that compared to past year, there has been a 30 per cent reduction in stubble burning".

Across the National Capital Region, the average PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations were 241 and 431 units, respectively.

The permissible limit for PM2.5 and PM10 is 60 and 80 units by national standards and 25 and 50 units by global standards. For PM10, up to 100 units is safe by national standards and 50 units by worldwide standards.

Both PM2.5 and 10 get into the lungs and cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, but PM2.5 is more risky because it mixes with the blood stream.


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