1800 primary schools shut down due to rise in pollution
PM 2.5 levels averaged close to 700 micrograms per cubic metre
This is 12 times above the government norm and 70 times over WHO's
Highest in the last 17 years.
India, New Delhi, November 6: New Delhi hit to a new low, going lower in the pollution level. Already Delhi considered as one of the most polluted city in the world. The issue of air pollution turned from bad to worse with the bad administration of Aam Admi Party government led by Kejriwal, who on Saturday sought the cooperation of the centre and people of Delhi in combating this menace which has threatened a complete shutdown of the capital.
The Kejriwal government has failed to take any measures to tackle air pollution. The appeal which Arvind Kejriwal did to the Delhi people about using public transport to minimize vehicular pollution could have been issued much earlier, knowing that the odd-even scheme cannot help much in this case. According to air quality measuring bodies, pollution levels were alarmingly high, breaching the safe limit by over 17 times at places.
This pollution has down visibility to around 200 metres across the city. Agencies recorded 'severe' quality air and advised people to avoid going outdoors. Almost zero wind speed made things much worse as the dust particles remained suspended in the air throughout the day, causing a hazy, low visibility atmosphere on roads even during the peak daytime.
The average level of particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) was above 400 micrograms per cubic metre or the "severe" category at all the pollution measuring centres including at Anand Vihar in east Delhi, Punjabi Bagh and Dwarka in the west, R.K. Puram in the south, Mandir Marg in central Delhi.
Anand Vihar: recorded PM 10 level at 1,711 micrograms per cubic metre at 2 PM -- around 17 times above the safe limit.
The safe limits of these ultrafine particles are 60 and 100 respectively. Even the level of gaseous pollutants like NO2 violated the prescribed standards for human inhalation as per real-time readings.
Anand Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, Mandir Marg and R.K. Puram witnessed, maximum level - 500 microgrammes per cubic metre whereas it was marginally lower at 493 in Dwarka.
The Delhi Chief Minister appealed to people to switch to public transport to minimize the vehicular pollution. Interacting with the media, passing the blame game to other state Arvind Kejriwal said that the smog was mainly a product of raging farm fires in neighboring Punjab and Haryana.
He said the Delhi government has very few methods at its disposal and the Centre needs to intervene.
"Pollution has increased to an extent that outdoors in Delhi resembles a gas chamber. Prima facie the biggest reason seems to be burning of stubble in agricultural fields in Haryana and Punjab in huge quantity," Kejriwal said at press conference.
Shutting down of schools for a long time was not a feasible solution, he said, when asked about the decision of the civic bodies to keep schools run by it closed for a day in view of pollution.
Lt Governor Najeeb Jung has also called for a high-level meeting on Monday to take stock of the immediate, short-term and long-term measures, in which he invited Kejriwal, health minister Satyendra Jain, environment minister Imran Hussain, the Delhi Chief Secretary, and representatives of Police and the civic bodies.
Sunita Narayan, the Director of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), blamed the government for not coming up with plans to deal with this dangerous situation. She slammed the Delhi government for not raising the crop burning issue with neighboring Haryana, UP and Punjab.
Sunita Narayan also called for rolling out a time-bound action plan immediately.
Vivek Chattopadhyay, a senior researcher with Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said that burning of crop residue in Punjab and Haryana was not the only source of the smog in Delhi but pollutants emitted from diesel cars and truck were also major contributors.
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