December 6, 2022

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As the smog in Delhi worsens, India’s Pollution Control Board advises residents to prepare for an emergency

Image Courtesy: The Financial Express

This amount of pollution means that healthy people will be affected by the air, as well as those who already have ailments.

The central pollution control board instructed states and local governments to be “completely ready” for emergency measures to combat deteriorating air conditions in New Delhi due to a dip in temperature and wind speeds on Friday. A heavy veil of deadly pollution lingered above Delhi, aggravated by a surge in crop waste burning in nearby farmlands. According to the pollution control board, visibility was impaired, and the Air Quality Index (AQI) reached 470 on a scale of 500.

This amount of pollution means that healthy people will be affected by the air, as well as those who already have ailments. According to the EPA’s “Graded Response Action Plan,” air quality that remains “severe” for 48 hours requires states and local governments to take emergency actions such as closing schools, putting “odd-even” limits on private cars based on their licence plates, and halting all development.

The board said in a circular issued late Friday that government and commercial offices should minimise their use of private transportation by 30% and that residents should limit their outside exposure. “In view of low winds and quiet circumstances during the night,” the board added, “meteorological conditions will be particularly unfavourable for pollution dispersion until November 18, 2021.”

Local authorities ordered the closure of brick kilns earlier this week, as well as increasing the frequency of mechanical cleaning and a crackdown on waste burning and pollution.

The dangerous PM2.5 particulate matter content averaged 329 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

The government recommends a PM2.5…

The government recommends a PM2.5 reading of 60 micrograms per cubic metre of air over a 24-hour period as a “safe” level.

PM2.5 is small enough to go deep into the lungs and into the bloodstream, causing serious respiratory disorders such as lung cancer.

“This is turning into a nightmare,” said Gufran Beig, creator and project head of the Ministry of Earth Science’s air quality and weather monitor SAFAR. “Fire counts are in the range of 3,000-5,000 and not reducing,” Mr Beig said, referring to crop stubble fires in the capital’s environs.

Despite investing billions of rupees over the past four years to curb crop-waste burning, a significant source of air pollution during the winter, India’s efforts have failed to prevent a sharp decline in air quality. Due to crop stubble burning, transportation emissions, coal-fired plants outside the city and other industrial emissions, open waste burning, and dust, Delhi is frequently named as the world’s most polluted metropolis.

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