A sick smog descends upon Delhi NCR and people are choking

The reasons may be manifold, but we can no longer ignore it.

 |  6-minute read |   02-11-2016
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Maybe it’s because of the firecrackers; maybe not. But one can no longer deny the near-asphyxiating quality of air in Delhi-NCR. Monday (the morning after Diwali) found the city and its suburban areas covered in a blanket of smog. Things started to improve on Tuesday. But today, again, things are as bad as ever. As late as 12PM, residents of Noida, Gurugram and Delhi found themselves in the yellowish, dirt-ridden haze of smog.

The ideal PM (particulate matter) of 10 has reached toxic levels of 999. For context, that is more than 10 times higher than what is considered safe to breathe. The PM 2.5 rose to 743, according to The Indian Express.

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The environment ministry attributes this sudden spike in pollution levels to four main factors. [Photo: Reuters]

While Delhi's deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia has promised to take aggressive steps to tackle the problem of growing pollution, the citizens of the National Capital Region are, for the time being, going to be stuck with toxic fumes and reduced visibility. 

According to a report, Sisodia said vacuum cleaning and sprinkling of water will be done on arterial roads, and a team will be constituted to focus on decreasing the dust at construction sites and prohibiting burning of leaves.

The PWD is also examining the installation of air purifiers at traffic intersections. The deputy chief minister said that Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has been told to strictly carry out regular inspection at construction sites having area more than 20,000 sq metres.

The Aam Aadmi Party government has also planned to relaunch the Swachch Delhi App in an effort to keep the city cleaner.

Even though this steep rise in pollution levels is suspiciously close to Diwali celebrations, one cannot discount additional factors that may have caused it. The environment ministry attributes the sudden spike in pollution levels to four main factors (which do not, of course, include firecrackers).

“It has been observed that open burning of solid waste in and around Delhi, vehicular emissions in Delhi, dust by the roadside and around construction sites in Delhi and stubble burning of crop residue in neighbouring states of Delhi are major contributors to pollution in Delhi,” said the environment ministry in a press release.

The reasons may be manifold, but it seems like we have reached a breaking point in terms of air pollution, at least in Delhi-NCR.

Also read - No - air purifiers are not worth it

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