Delhi Facing Worst Smog In 17 Years: Top Environmental Agency

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Delhi Facing Worst Smog In 17 Years: Top Environmental Agency

Delhi Pollution Control Committee shows PM 2.5 levels increased by 62.7 per cent on November 2.


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Indira Gandhi International Airport recorded the worst levels of smog.
  2. The visibility at the airport was just 300-400 metres.
  3. The PM 2.5 levels was in the 'severe category' in Delhi.
Delhi is facing the worst smog in 17 years, a green body said, calling it a state of health emergency. It asked the Delhi government to issue health alerts and convey that children should stay indoors.

As visibility remained poor and a haze enveloped the city, the Centre for Science and Environment asked the Delhi government to come up with stringent plans for controlling winter pollution and issue daily health advisory to the people.

CSE said that according to the Indian Meteorological Department, the Indira Gandhi International Airport recorded the worst levels of smog in 17 years on November 2, with visibility as low as 300-400 metres.

The data from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee shows the levels of PM2.5 have increased by 62.7 per cent on November 2 -- 11.6 times the norm.

On the night of November 1, PM2.5 concentration had hit 548 microgramme per cubic metre - 9 times the norm.

According to air quality monitoring network SAFAR, PM2.5 levels are expected to remain in this category for more than three days, it said.

"This demands emergency response to protect the vulnerable -- those who are suffering from respiratory and heart diseases and children," said Anumita Roychowdhury, head of CSE's air pollution and sustainable mobility teams.

The government, she said, should advise people to stay indoors and avoid outdoor exercises. "At the same time, it should roll out stringent winter pollution control for all sources along with emergency action," she added.

The CSE said schools should be shut if necessary. "Children are more vulnerable. Given their hyper level of physical activities, they inhale more volume of air than adults and therefore, breathe in more pollution.

"Joint studies of Central Pollution Control Board and Chittaranjan National Cancer Research Institute in Kolkata have shown that every third child in Delhi has impaired lungs," the green body said.

The Delhi government's inter-ministerial task force headed by PWD Minister Satyendar Jain, which met today, identified crop burning in Punjab and Haryana as one of the major factors behind the spiralling
level of pollutants.

This has been confirmed by the CSE, which said satellite images of NASA's fire mapper have showed that incidences of paddy burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have increased after Diwali.

The images clearly revealed that after October 30, crop burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh became more aggressive which would have contributed to the severe smog in the national capital, it said.


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