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Toxic smog greets Delhiites for third consecutive day

It had been noticed that pollution levels saw slight dip on Tuesday, in comparison to the day after Diwali, but Wednesday morning saw even higher levels of pollution.
Pix : Delhi air quality  has dipped

After the festive celebrations, Delhi is facing repercussions of the celebratory cheer. City is experiencing low visibility due to smog for third consecutive day, following the Diwali Night of October 31.

Reportedly, the levels of Particulate Matter (PM) 10 had reached a massive 999, which is much more than 10 times higher than the safe limit. PM 2.5 levels have touched the highest streak of 743, the limit of which set by government is 60.

The air quality index had shown increased pollution levels a week before Diwali and hit hazardous levels on Sunday night of Diwali. PM 10 levels hit 999 at places like Anand Vihar, Punjabi Bagh and RK Puram. It had been noticed that pollution levels saw slight dip on Tuesday, in comparison to the day after Diwali, but Wednesday morning saw even higher levels of pollution.

It has already been known that Air quality in Delhi is usually very poor due to road dust, open fires, vehicle exhaust fumes, industrial emissions and the burning of crop residues in neighboring states.

Reportedly, PM2.5 particles and droplets are considered to be the most harmful kind of air pollution because they are fine enough to evade the body’s natural filters, penetrate the lungs and enter the bloodstream. It is to be noted that short-term exposure can trigger coughing and eye and throat irritation, while longer term exposure is strongly associated with reduced lung function, heart disease and lung cancer.

According to media reports, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia promised on Tuesday to take aggressive steps to tackle the problem of growing pollution in the city. He held preparatory meeting with various departments, and said that the government will take a slew of anti-pollution measures, including the use of sprinklers and mist fountains, smoke tappers in crematoriums, and waste management to minimise emission of methane gas caused by burning at landfill sites.

Anumita Roychowdhury, the executive director of the Centre for Science and Environment, a Delhi-based thinktank said to The Guardian, “The levels we’re seeing are really alarming. They are clearly in the severe category.”

“Delhi’s air remains so polluted throughout the year that it doesn’t really have room for additional pollution during Diwali,” she added.

She said the smog released by the fireworks was worsened by the seasonally cooler temperature and slowing winds, which meant “the air doesn’t blow away, and all the pollution that happens inside the city gets trapped at the ground level, very close to our noses”.

 

One of the interesting aspects from the world on the subject is from China. In the country, a PM2.5 reading greater than 300 for more than three days triggers a “red alert” that closes schools, there are no official government warnings over high levels of air pollution.

“Where is the plan for short- and medium-term action, and for emergency action?” Roychowdhury said in talks with Reuters. “We need one very urgently.”

Earlier this year, Delhi Government had introduced odd-even formula in an attempt to cut back on vehicular emissions as problems due to pollution become severe during the winters.

As Pollution Levels Reach Dangerous Proportions, Centre Alerts States

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