'Hazardous' air pollution in India's capital prompts emergency measures

03 November, 2018, 20:00 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • People take desperate measures to fight polluted air. File

The overall air quality index of Delhi on Wednesday was recorded at 366 by the CPCB. While only Delhi environment minister Imran Hussain showed up, the environment ministers of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh reportedly skipped the meet and sent bureaucrats instead.

The National Clean Air for Children Programme, launched last week by the Clean Air Parents' Network and supported by environmental law organisations ClientEarth and the British Lung Foundation, calls for £153m of funding to protect babies and children from the harmful effects of air pollution.

Measures that have been rolled out between November 1 and November 10 include the shutdown of the Mundka industrial area, a ban on construction and excavation (digging) activities, shutting down of industries that run on coal and biomass, and a ban on stone crushers, brick kilns and hot mix plants. Metros across the world bear the major brunt of air pollution, likewise, Delhi is at the receiving end in India.

The court had termed as "very critical" the prevailing situation of pollution in Delhi-NCR region and had permitted the court-mandated EPCA to take pre-emptive steps under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) without strict adherence to pollution stages delineated in the plan. Find us on Facebook too! Moreover, a decrease of 30% in stubble burning compared to past year and the strict pollution control actions by authorities across NCR have also helped in this improvement.

The building department also fined owners of 39 sites who were not complying with its directives to check pollution.

The apex court told the counsel appearing for the Delhi government that the NGT's order banning plying of 15-year-old petrol and 10-year-old diesel vehicles in the Delhi-NCR was passed on April 7, 2015 and an appeal against this order was dismissed by the top court on May 15, 2015. However, pollution would go up Monday onwards, it said.

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Further, to decongest city roads, reduce the travel time of motorists, save fuel and reduce pollution, a total of 10,23,156 vehicles were prosecuted for obstructive and improper parking, he added.

Wazirpur, Sonia Vihar and Ashok Vihar recorded "severe" quality air while 28 other areas recorded "very poor" quality air, according to the CPCB data. PM2.5 (particles in the air with diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) stood at 210, which falls in the "very poor" category.

The PM2.5 level was recorded at 217.

Satyendra Kumar, deputy secretary at the environment ministry, said during his presentation at the World Health Organization summit, "We are committed to bring PM10 and PM 2.5 levels down in definite percent terms by 2024".

Authorities said the AQI of Delhi would remain in the upper range of the "very poor" category till November 5, and thereafter, it could see severe deterioration due to unfavourable meteorological conditions.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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