Fog disrupts air, rail traffic in Delhi; air quality ‘severe’
27 December, 2018, 03:43 | Author: Kelly Sanders
The air quality levels have worsened in the national capital region for the fourth consecutive day and the alarming situation could prompt the return of the odd-even auto scheme. The air quality index (AQI), the overall marker for the city's air pollution was 409 while on Monday it had touched 450. According to the officals, pollution levels have sharply spiked today as a thick haze engulfed the national capital, ahead of Diwali, due to high impact of stubble burning.
According to the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), the air quality is likely to improve but will remain in the upper end of the "very poor to severe" category.
Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, Vijender Gupta, alleged that the city government had "done nothing" to solve the problem of pollution during its stint in power over the last four years.
While the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data showed the overall air quality index (AQI) at "very poor" level of 399, the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) showed an AQI of 385 which falls in the very poor category.
Delhi's air quality had turned "severe" on Saturday.
The EnvironmentPollution Control and Prevention Authority (EPCA) has directed traffic police to deploy special teams and ensure congestion-free vehicular movement, particularly in identified high traffic corridors. "SAFAR forecasting model predicts a faster improvement due to faster dispersion and deposition owing to a shorter lifetime of particles near the surface". The index was 5000 sqm/second on Tuesday, the IITM had said. "We are making all efforts on our part", he said.
Talking about the solution to curb the toxic cocktail of gases in Delhi, Dr Guleria said "Overall solution is a holistic plan where individuals have to take part, they start using public transport, less use of cars especially diesel vehicles".
Many areas in the capital recorded Particulate Matter (PM) 10 levels way beyond the safe standard. "It is not as if the level of emissions has suddenly gone up", he said.
Air pollution was "severe" for the fourth consecutive day, the daytime temperature fell to its lowest this season, and heavy fog disrupted at least 200 flights in and out of the national capital on Tuesday, even as weather officials predicted winter will get tougher in the coming week.
In NCR, Ghaziabad recorded severe air quality while Faridabad, Gurgaon and Noida recorded very poor air quality.
Dahiya also said the government should immediately close down schools and urge people to curtail outdoor activities given the serious health effects of the current pollution levels.
The agencies concerned were also asked to increase surveillance on industrial waste dumping and burning, especially in the hotspots.
"It is just that dispersal (of pollutants) is not happening because of the meteorological conditions".
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