Smog Envelops Delhi 2 Days Before Diwali, Air Quality May Worsen

Posted November 07, 2018

Delhi's air quality deteriorated on Monday to "Severe" for the second time within a week due to a change in wind direction and rampant stubble burning in neighbouring states, authorities said.

The national capital and its adjoining areas have been reeling under poor air quality since past few months.

Air quality in the Delhi further worsened on Monday as the pollution level hovering in "unhealthy category".

Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner at Greenpeace India, told ABC News that although the end of the monsoon season this time of year brings a spike in air pollution, the problems New Delhi faces are a long time in the making.

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An official of the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research said intensified stubble burning is contributing almost 24 per cent of the air pollution in Delhi. With Diwali in mind, a Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan clarified on October 31 that only green firecrackers will be used in Delhi, while all others can be sold in other parts of the country. The recommendation was made in view of the heavy pollution caused by such vehicles which might add to the woes of the national capital which is already battling alarming levels of pollution, another CPCB official said.

Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain, who attended the meeting, said the meeting should have been taken seriously. Because of increased wind speed and various air pollution control measures implemented by the government, decline in levels of pollutants were witnessed.

There is a halt on all construction activities involving excavation.

The top court had described as "very critical" the prevailing situation of pollution in Delhi-NCR, directing that a list of 15-year-old petrol and 10-year-old diesel vehicles be published on the web site of CPCB and transport department.

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"Early morning winds picked up, which came as respite and dispersed particles rapidly and pulled back air quality towards very poor range", the official said. Recent studies have indicated that exposure to particulate air pollution may be associated with acute heart attack.

The residents of Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) have been advised to avoid all outdoor activities, keep medicines handy in case of respiratory diseases and curb the use of private cars and two-wheelers.

"We have quality filters in place because of which all our classrooms receive treated fresh air throughout the working hours and a professional team is monitoring this", said Deepa Kumar, principal, Heritage Xperiential Learning School, Gurgaon.

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