- Pollution in Delhi is 10 times more polluted than permissible limit
- Primary schools to remain shut tomorrow: Manish Sisodia
- (IMA) had called for pollution to be declared a National Health Emergency
New Delhi: Delhi today woke up to ‘severe’ air quality under a blanket of thick grey haze, as pollution levels breached the permissible standards by 10 times. According to the statistics, five out of the Top 10 most polluted areas of the country are from Delhi. Amid deteriorating air quality crisis in the national capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, called for schools to be shut for few days. Mr Kejriwal tweeted that he had asked his Deputy and Education Minister, Manish Sisodia to consider closing down schools for a few days. He also added, “Every year, during this time of the year, Delhi becomes a gas chamber for almost a month.”
Considering high level of pollution, I have requested Sh Manish Sisodia, Education Minister, to consider closing schools for a few days
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 7, 2017
In a wake of severe air pollution, during the live presser, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia said that Primary Schools (Till 5th standards) in Delhi will remain close tomorrow. He also added, it is a mandate for all the schools that they will for few days will stop all the outdoor activities including the morning assembly prayers. He adds,
For now the action plan is this, till now the situation is near severe. We will review the situation again and take decision on whether schools should remain shut for day after tomorrow.
About a month ago, Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia during the 12-hour NDTV Dettol Banega Swachh Cleanathon on October 2, had indicated a return of the ‘Odd-Even’ scheme if Delhi’s air quality deteriorated. He had said,
When we had experimented with odd-even rule in last December, there was a corporation from people as they too were keen on reducing the pollution levels. The traffic congestions along with the pollution had certainly come down. This time, the state may implement the rule again if necessary.
Even the top medical body, The Indian Medical Association (IMA) had asked Centre to declare a National Health Emergency due to severe air pollution and had appealed for cancellation of all outdoor sports, as mere walking in this condition could be dangerous for health, especially of children.
According to the U.S. embassy’s real-time air quality index (AQI), Delhi was beyond the maximum level, the data shows that the PM2.5, the most harmful pollutant to health reached 703, over double the threshold of 300 that is classified as hazardous. RK Puram an area in the South West part of Delhi this level was at 999, beyond which no readings are available.
Under these circumstances, measures under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) rolled out in the city today, as per the decision, parking fee has been hiked by 4 times in Delhi, the decision was taken at a meeting of the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) to discourage people from using private vehicles over rising pollution in Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region). If the situation deteriorates further and persists for at least 48 hours, the task force under the GRAP will enforce shutting of schools and roll out the odd-even car rationing scheme, which was ABC.
According to Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency, wind from neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, where paddy stubble burning is in full swing, has started entering the city during the afternoon hours. As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) air quality in the neighbouring Noida and Ghaziabad is also recorded ‘severe’.
Speaking to NDTV, Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment, Dr Mahesh Sharma said, “Managing air pollution should be the joint effort, some steps government is taking, some steps public needs to take. It is expected that from 6pm onwards today, the air quality will hit further. Government is taking steps and some essential steps will be rolled out in the capital on priority.”
Health Concerns: Should You Worry?
The PM2.5 and PM10, has the ability to enter the respiratory system and subsequently the bloodstream of humans and animals, and cause great harm to the physical health and may result in the aggravation of asthma, blood pressure and even cardiovascular diseases.
According to Dr Naresh Trehan, the Chairman and Managing Director of Medanta, Children and adults who are vulnerable should be protected extensively. It is recommended those who are already effected by Asthma should wear masks, or should just stay indoor. During the time when Sun is out fully, that’s the best time for them to come out.
Safeguards: What Can You Do?
Some simple measures like below can be taken to ensure you are safeguarded from the hazardous of Air Pollution:
- Use a pollution mask every time you step out
- Keep away from the construction sites
- Wash the street around your house
- Consider buying an air purifier for the house