Air quality turns severe again

| | New Delhi
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Air quality turns severe again

Thursday, 16 November 2023 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

Delhi continues to gasp for breath as the air quality in the national Capital following Diwali bash pushed the air quality index (AQI) to the cusp of the deep red “severe” zone. The poisonous  haze in Delhi thickened on Wednesday with the average air quality index clocked 401 at 4 pm. It was 397 on Tuesday, 358 on Monday,  218 on Sunday, 220 on Saturday, 279 on Friday and 437 on Thursday.  Areas such as ITO, RK Puram, Punjabi Bagh, IGI Airport, Dwarka, Rohini and AnandVihar reported the AQI of 427, 422, 432, 404, 416, 421. Neighbouring Ghaziabad (378), Gurugram (297), Greater Noida (338), Noida (360) and Faridabad (390) also recorded very poor air quality.

The main contributors to air pollution in Delhi include vehicular emissions, industrial activities, construction dust, burning of crop residues in neighboring states, and various other sources.

Stubble burning incidents crossed the 30,000 mark in two months in Punjab which reported 2,544 fresh farm fires in the last 24 hours. Of these 2,544 farm fires, Bathinda witnessed maximum such cases at 356, followed by 318 in Moga, 264 in Barnala, 262 in Sangrur, 253 in Ferozepur, and 225 in Faridkot, according to Ludhiana-based Punjab Remote Sensing Centre data. Punjab had reported 67,020 and 45,464 stubble burning incidents in the corresponding period (September 15 to November 15) of 2021 and 2022 respectively.

 People living in the national capital region are unlikely to experience a relief soon.  According to IQAir, a Swiss company that specialises in air quality monitoring, Delhi was the most polluted city in the world on Tuesday, followed by Lahore and Mumbai.

Meanwhile, Singer Harrdy Sandhu has rescheduled his upcoming show in Gurugram in the wake of "rising pollution levels", saying the safety of fans is his "top priority". Announcing his decision on his Instagram, the ‘Naah’ singer wrote: “It is with a heavy heart that I inform that our upcoming show in Gurgaon on November 18 will have to be rescheduled. The rising pollution levels and government regulations aimed to curb the same have made it essential for us to prioritise safety.” He added, "I assure everyone we are working on finding a new date that works for everyone. Your safety is my top priority, and I can't wait to share the stage with you when the conditions are right.” The Punjabi star was set to kickstart his first ever all-India tour titled 'In My Feelings' on November 18 from Delhi-NCR.

According to a Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) analysis, the city experiences peak pollution from November 1 to 15, when the number of stubble-burning incidents in Punjab and Haryana increases.

Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai on Wednesday said the pollution situation of the national capital will be observed for the next two or three days and only then a decision of odd-even or artificial rain would be taken. "After 2-3 days, the wind speed may pick up. So it is expected that the situation will be better. We are now monitoring the situation. Tomorrow, we will sit with the scientists and the departments," Rai said. 

“If the AQI turns into the ‘severe plus’ category, the government will think of stricter measures like odd-even, the minister said.

Among other temporary measures, the Delhi Fire Services (DFS) trucks are sprinkling water in 13 hot spots to weigh the air pollutants down.

Delhi labour minister Raaj Kumar Anand also conducted a thorough inspection of vehicles entering the city at Punjab Khor to Ladrawan Road (Kanjhawala Road, Delhi) on Wednesday. Anand noted that diesel vehicles entering Delhi from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are contributing to the increasing pollution in the city.

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