No respite from toxic air as Delhi's air quality nears 'emergency' mark

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 14, 2019, 08.18 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( ANI )

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At 7 am, the air quality index (AQI) of Dwarka Sector 8, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi, were 496 and 492 respectively, which is very close to the "emergency'' category.

Delhi once again woke up with no respite from toxic air as the air quality continued to remain under the "severe" category in most parts and neared hitting the emergency mark in some regions. 

As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, at 7 am, the air quality index (AQI) of Dwarka Sector 8, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, was 496 and 492 respectively, which is very close to the "emergency'' category. It should be noted that an AQI of 500 or more falls under "severe" or "emergency" category. In many parts of Delhi and its adjoining areas, the air quality remained under "severe" category. 

An AQI of 0-50 is considered as "good", 51-100 "satisfactory", 101-200 "moderate", 201-300 "poor", 301-400 "very poor" and 401-500 "severe".     

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The air quality dipped to the "severe" stage late on Tuesday after the odd-even rationing scheme was lifted due to the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. The odd-even is a scheme where cars with even and odd number plates are allowed to run on alternate days. The odd-even restrictions are not on two-wheelers and electric vehicles. Women only vehicles with children upto 12 years are also exempted under the odd-even rule.

Due to rising pollution levels, Delhi government on Wednesday once again ordered schools to be shut for two days till November 15. Schools in Delhi were already closed for an extended period due to pollution post-Diwali and reopened on November 5. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal also hinted at extending the odd-even scheme.

Earlier. the Supreme Court had pulled up Centre and government of northern Indian states for their inability to curb pollution. The apex court also ordered a complete halt to stubble burning, a major contributor to the toxic air and announced incentives to the farmers for discontinuing this practice. Despite SC's order, the practice is continued in many regions.

Stubble burning is a practice where the residues of the crops are burnt once the crop is harvested. 

As winter arrives in northern India, residents have to deal with the menace of air pollution as the pollutants enter the thick air and don't disappear quickly. Stubble burning and industrial and construction activities all contribute to the deteriorating air quality.