Delhi records worst air quality of season

Delhi records worst air quality of season

A general view of India Gate monument during heavy smog conditions in New Delhi on October 25, 2018. - Smog levels spike during winter in Delhi, when air quality often eclipses the World Health Organization's safe levels. Cooler air traps pollutants -- su

With Delhi air quality turning the season's worst on Sunday, the local authorities have put in a number of control measures including a ban on all construction activities in the national capital region for 10 days as a desperate attempt to limit the level of pollution in the air.

The Central Pollution Control Board warned that the air pollution level in Delhi and NCR would nosedive further between November 1-10 as reports from the India Meteorological Department and adjoining states indicate.

On Sunday, Delhi's air quality was in the 'very poor' category (index 366) and so was the air in Greater Noida (362) and Noida (385). In Gurugram and Ghaziabad, it's already in the 'severe' category with a score of 403 and 415 respectively.

An air quality forecast issued by the IMD on Sunday show that in 17 of the 19 data sites in Delhi and adjoining areas in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the air quality will be in the “very poor” and “severe” category for the next two days.

While “very poor” category of air can cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure, “severe” quality air affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases.

The stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, the main culprit behind the pollution haze that engulfed Delhi this time of the year, began little late and likely to pick up from Monday onward. “At the moment 20-30% of Delhi pollution is coming from stubble burning, but that would increase in the first week of November,” said CPCB member secretary Prashant Garghav.

The CPCB has asked the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) to stop all construction and excavation activities in the NCR between November 1-10 besides stopping every coal and biomass-based industries barring the thermal power plant. The traffic police have been advised to intensify their checking of polluting vehicles.

On Saturday, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said the CPCB would initiate criminal prosecution against the agencies which fail to comply with the government's anti-pollution initiatives. Delhi and its four satellite towns generated nearly 2600 pollution related complaints but compliance was reported in less than 10% of cases.

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