January 20, 2019

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

04 November 2018, 11:33 | Ross Houston

Delhi air quality continues to be ‘very poor’, four areas fall under ‘severe’ category

Environment ministry forms teams to report incidents of pollution

The Delhi government has taken various steps to lower pollution levels, including banning construction activities in the city between November 1 and 10.

Unless Minister Motsoaledi and the National Department of Health take air pollution, and its associated severe public health impacts and significant climate change impacts seriously, we will be ignoring what is ostensibly the greatest public health impact we face.

The top court is seized of matters in which several issues related to air pollution in the Delhi-NCR have been raised. These additional metro train services have started with effect from October 31, 2018, providing 812 additional number of trips.

The Pune air, during Diwali time, has shown a steady decline in quality in the last five years, according to an analysis done by the scientists at the System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

The top court also expressed displeasure that three-and-a-half years have gone by since the National Green Tribunal had, on April 7, 2015, passed an order banning plying of 15 year old petrol and 10 year old diesel vehicles in Delhi-NCR, but the directions have not been complied with yet.

These ongoing and unattended-to exceedances of safe air quality levels are closely correlated with non-communicable diseases. The Central Pollution Control Board has also asked pollution control authorities in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab to check stubble burning, which is attributed to be a major cause for the increasing pollution levels in the city.

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Since the inhabitants of Delhi are living in poor air quality conditions, so they are advised to wear masks and remain indoors as much as possible. Civil construction has also been suspended, besides closure of all stone crushers and hot mix plants generating dust pollution.

The overall air quality index of Delhi was recorded at 392, which falls in the "very poor" category and is just eight points from turning severe.

The UK government has submitted a voluntary commitment to step up its efforts to tackle air pollution across the country at the final High Level Action Day of the conference today. The IITM had said there was no possibility of improvement in the air quality over the next two days.

The special teams comprise the local SDM as the team leader, senior official from the Ministry and representatives from CPCB, Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Delhi Pollution Control Committee. In the case of repeat violations, criminal proceedings against defaulters will be initiated.

The CPCB has put up guidelines for the public to file complaints of air pollution in Delhi-NCR on its social media page, website, and through its mobile application.

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