After Diwali, the air in Delhi had become too polluted and harmful for people to breath in. The latest update shows that the pollution levels in Delhi and neighbouring cities dropped marginally on Saturday with a slight increase in the wind. A day after the government declared ‘public health emergency’, taking into consideration the air quality which dropped down to the worst, the authorities were forced to shut down schools and ban all construction activities.
According to official data, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of the city stood at 407 at 10 am on Saturday while it was recorded 484 at 4 pm on Friday.
As per the Central Pollution Control Board, the AQI in the NCR region, Ghaziabad and Greater Noida stood at 459 and 452 respectively today morning. However, on Friday, it was recorded to be 496 at 4 pm.
The official data shows that the levels of PM2.5 — a tiny particulate matter of fewer than 2.5 microns in diameter that can enter the lungs and even the bloodstream, were 269 micrograms per cubic meter at 10 am. It was more than four times the safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic meter. The PM10 level was at 436.
According to weather experts, there is a significant improvement in the speed of the wind and is expected to rise gradually. From Saturday to Tuesday the speed of the wind is predicted to gust up to 20-25 kilometres per hour.
Furthermore, they stated that due to the cyclone Maha and a fresh western disturbance, scattered rainfall is also expected in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan on November 7. The rain will help to bring down the pollution. Moreover, this will reduce the effect of stubble burning which is happening in the nearby cities of Delhi–like, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh.
Steps which are taken by the Government of Delhi
Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal termed Delhi as “gas chamber” and demanded to the central government to fix a timeline for stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana. He stated that pollutants from the neighbouring states worsened the air quality in the national capital.
On Friday, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority declared public emergency followed by Delhi governments decision to shut all schools. The EPCA also banned all the construction activities in Delhi-NCR till November 5.
Sharing the details of Odd-even scheme which was started in 2016, he slammed the opposition BJP party for seeking credit for achievements of his government but keeping “mum” on crop residue burning in the neighbouring states. The odd-even scheme is a car-rationing method where cars with odd and even number plates will ply on alternate days. This scheme will be implemented in the national capital from November 4 to November 15.
Arvind Kejriwal said that an order for staggered office timings of the Delhi government has also been issued. He stated that the offices of various departments of the Delhi government would open at 9.30 am and 10.30 am.
Further, he said that surge pricing would not be applied by app-based cabs during the odd-even scheme. Moreover, the government would distribute 50 lakh anti-pollution masks in the city in the coming week.
The question of who has to be blamed for the poor quality of air remains unanswered. Delhiites can now only hope that in the upcoming days the situation of air quality in the national capital will improve gradually.