Haze hovers over Indian capital as peak pollution season arrives

Terry Joseph
October 29, 2018

Air pollution continued to worsen in the Indian capital Saturday, in spite of a sunny morning, prompting the environment authorities to advise people to stay indoors ahead of Diwali, the festival of lights.

Delhi pollution is back again and that too to stay for a long time now.

The decline in air quality has been attributed to vehicular pollution, construction dust as well as stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab, said authorities.

The SAFAR also recorded high content of PM10 and PM2.5 in the air at 332 and 195 microgrammes per m3.

Out of 48 monitored station across NCR (including Delhi), only four had "moderate to poor" air quality while 23 stations have "severe or severe-plus" air quality and 21 were "very-poor".

Alarmed at the situation, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has recommended that people avoid heavy workouts, try to get themselves less exposed to toxic air, and cut down on the use of private cars.

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Some of these recommendations include shutdown of coal and biomass factories, intensification of inspection by the transport department to check polluting vehicles and controlling traffic congestion in Delhi-NCR during November 1-10.

Stubble-burning is done by farmers, the resultant smoke takes the form of smog when it reaches Delhi and regions around it leading to a spike in air pollution. "The latest data of stubble burning and the AQI has vindicated it", said Kahan Singh Pannu, secretary, agriculture, state nodal officer of the anti-stubble burning campaign.

PM2.5 is the presence of particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres, while PM10 is the presence of particles in the air with, and both are considered the major atmospheric pollutants.PM2.5, in particular, poses greater harm as its fine particles can easily be inhaled into the respiratory tract.

In July, according to a new study which ranked the national capital third in a list of cities reporting most deaths due to air pollution, it was revealed that almost 15,000 people died prematurely in Delhi due to pollution by fine particulate matter in 2016.

"Pollution would reduce in the next couple of days if the weather condition remains same".

The most recent air pollution data from the World Health Organisation released in March this year gave India the dubious distinction of having the world's ten most polluted cities. It also recommended people to go for shorter walks instead of jogs, keeping windows closed and wearing masks while stepping outside.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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