"Eat Carrots, Listen To Music": Ministers Tweet Amid Delhi Air Emergency

The tweets by Prakash Javadekar and Dr Harsh Vardhan drew instant backlash, highlighting the growing resentment about the government's response to the crisis.

'Eat Carrots, Listen To Music': Ministers Tweet Amid Delhi Air Emergency

Air pollution in Delhi and surrounding towns reached the worst levels so far this year on Sunday.

New Delhi:

As Delhi struggles with its worst air pollution crisis of the year, two tweets by union ministers on Sunday triggered a wave of criticism online. While Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar's post was a music recommendation, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan suggested eating carrots as one of the ways to counter pollution-related health problems.

Mr Javadekar, the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, who has been sparring with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over measures to tackle the massive public health emergency, posted his tweet in English and Hindi separately.

His colleague, Dr Harsh Vardhan, meanwhile, made a case for eating carrots with a reference to the pollution crisis.

The tweets drew instant backlash, highlighting the growing resentment about the government's response to the crisis. #DelhiAirEmergency and #DelhiBachao (Save Delhi) were top trends on Twitter for most of the day.

Air pollution in New Delhi and surrounding towns reached the worst levels so far this year on Sunday. Authorities in the world's most polluted capital city have already declared a public health emergency and ordered the closure of schools.

The air quality index, measuring levels of PM 2.5, tiny particulate matter in the air, deteriorated to above 900, way over the 500-level that qualifies as "severe-plus".

Aside from the harm it was doing to the lungs of some four crore people living in the capital region, the smog was so bad nearly 40 flights were diverted from Delhi airport due to poor visibility.
Roads looked deserted as large numbers of people stayed home, rather than expose themselves to the noxious atmosphere outside.

The government environment monitoring agency SAFAR warned that no relief was expected for the next one to two days, as humidity resulting from unexpected light rains overnight had exacerbated pollution, already driven by higher the seasonal crop stubble burning by farmers in the surrounding states.

Highlights

  • Public health emergency declared in Delhi due to air pollution
  • Centre, state governments spar over responsibility
  • Union ministers' tweets draw backlash on social media
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