Friday, 16 November, 2018

‘Clean Air Week’ - India to deploy emergency measures for controlling air pollution

Delhi-NCR To Observe'Clean Air Week From November 1-5 'Hazardous' air pollution in India's capital prompts emergency measures
Glenn Montgomery | 08 November, 2018, 01:15

The sudden deterioration, as forecast last week, was due to a change in the wind direction, from easterly to the north-westerly, that has brought smoke arising from stubble burning, and Delhi's moist air trapping local and invading pollutants. The authority has also urged people to use more public vehicles, claiming that around 40% of the air pollution is caused by vehicular emissions.

Air quality will be "bad" on November 8 even if "partial toxic crackers" are burned compared to previous year, the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said.

One specific type air pollution, commonly known as PM2.5 - shorthand for particulate matter 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller - is especially harmful. The Air Quality Index (AQI) around Mandir Marg recorded PM 10 levels at 707 and PM 2.5 at 663.

Indian Government has put in emergency measures to check the increased air pollution level in National Capital as air quality slipped from "very poor" to "hazardous" on Friday.

Authorities said that Delhi's air quality turned "severe" on October 30, with stubble burning intensifying in neighbouring states.

Shallow fog and haze during daytime is expected on Wednesday and Thursday, it said.

The increase in pollution levels comes despite strict control measures imposed by the government in Delhi.

The levels of the pollutant (particulate matter) PM2.5 at Anand Vihar, was at a "hazardous" 847 or over 33 times the safe limit prescribed by the World Health Organization this morning as per the data from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee. Civil construction has also been suspended in Delhi and other NCR districts, besides closure of all stone crushers and hot mix plants generating dust pollution.

Air quality will be "bad" on Thursday, 8 November - a day after Diwali - even if "partial toxic crackers" are used as compared to previous year, SAFAR said.

Heavy industrialization and a rising standard of living are the most common causes of high concentrations of air pollution in the cities on this list - though they are not the only culprits. This improved on Tuesday to 338, which falls in the "very poor" category.

The top court is seized of matters in which several issues related to air pollution in the Delhi-NCR have been raised.

The national capital and the areas around experienced the first smog episode of this season as the city turned into gas chamber a day ahead of Diwali with air quality placed in "emergency" or "beyond-severe" category. According to the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board, AQI is a rating scale ranging from 0 to 500+ used for reporting the quality of air we breathe in and the associated health effects.

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