New Delhi: The National Capital saw a sudden spike in air-pollution on Saturday, a day after Dussehra. As stubble-burning stepped up in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, the combined effects of Dussehra and meteorological reasons such as low winds in Delhi gripped the city in haze with many regions heading towards ‘severe-plus’ or ’emergency level’ air quality. The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi on Saturday was 326, marked very-poor, against 276 on Friday evening. The prescribed AQI limit by World Health Organisation (WHO) is 100.
Earlier on Friday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed his disappointment that the Centre along with the state governments of Punjab and Haryana did not do anything to manage stubble and warned that Delhi will turn into a ‘gas chamber’ soon.
The average presence of major pollutant PM2.5 or particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5mm, also spiked in past 24 hours, mostly credited to festival where hundreds of Ravana effigies were set ablaze to mark Dussehra and the general rise in traffic on roads due to festivities.
The average PM2.5 concentration was 186 units across 48 regions of NCR against 129 units merely 24 hours back. The average PM2.5 across 36 areas of Delhi was 191 units at around 5 pm, against 133 units on Friday. The permissible range or PM2.5 is 60 as per national standards and 25 by the international standards.
Dwarka sub-city turned out to be the most polluted with ‘severe-plus’ air-quality and an average AQI of 405, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The major pollutants PM2.5 and PM10 were over nine times the international safe limits in the sub-city.
Residents of Dwarka on Saturday took out a protest march as open burning of garbage continued, spewing toxic fumes and worsening the air quality to “severe-plus or emergency”. Dwarka fell behind Anand Vihar area in east Delhi in terms of air pollution after garbage was found burning at different places a day after Dussehra.
The garbage is being burned across several areas of Dwarka, specially sectors 7, 8, 12 and 10. In last 15 days, there have been over 10 cases of garbage burning at an unauthorised dhalao or dumping area in front of Brahma Apartments of sector-7. We had no option but to take to the streets, V. Selvarajan, a resident and member of NGO Green Circle told IANS.
This is despite a blanket ban on burning of garbage across Delhi.
On paper, one can’t burn the garbage. However, its implementation has been a problem, said Polash Mukherjee, a researcher at the Centre for Science and Environment, and a member of the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).
Mr. Selvarajan said that the residents had reached out to the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Union Environment Ministry, CPCB, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), but no action was taken. When contacted, SDMC officials said that they were unaware of any garbage burning.
Meanwhile, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) labelled NCR’s air quality as toxic and recommended keeping relief medicine handy. SAFAR advised everyone to avoid tiring outdoor physical activity.
Across NCR, Bhiwadi in Rajasthan turned out to be the most polluted, with severe air-quality with AQI of 434. The AQI was 314 in Ghaziabad, 326 in Faridabad, 317 in Greater Noida, 374 in Gurugram and Noida was at 319 respectively.
With inputs from IANS.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.