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Delhi's air quality on brink of turning 'severe', political blame-game continues

Eleven areas in Delhi recorded "severe" air quality while 16 areas recorded "very poor" air quality, according to the CPCB data.

Edited by: India TV News Desk New Delhi Updated on: November 02, 2018 0:02 IST
Eleven areas in Delhi recorded

Eleven areas in Delhi recorded "severe" air quality while 16 areas recorded "very poor" air quality, according to the CPCB data.

Delhi's air quality was on the brink of turning severe on Thursday thanks to stubble burning in the adjoining states and unfavorable meteorological conditions, authorities said. The overall air quality index of Delhi was recorded at 392, which falls in the 'very poor' category and is just eight points from turning severe.

Eleven areas in Delhi recorded "severe" air quality while 16 areas recorded "very poor" air quality, according to the CPCB data.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) on Thursday was 393 in Delhi, considered "very poor" or near "severe". Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh saw a slight improvement with an AQI of 377. 

Haryana's Gurugram had an AQI of 427, while Faridabad and Noida had 407, making them the three most polluted cities in the country on Thursday.

Pollution is set to worsen until at least November 4, with high moisture trapping the pollutants and calm wind not allowing them to disperse, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).

The stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana has about 30 per cent impact on Delhi's air quality, say experts from Central Pollution Control Board (CPSB).

Delhi on Thursday saw a rise in particle pollutants with average dispersion of PM2.5 and PM10, or particles with diameter less than 2.5mm and 10mm, being 241 and 437 microgrammer per cubic meters -- about 4 times the permissible limit.

Chandni Chowk, Dwarka sub-city, Rohini, R.K. Puram, Narela and Punjabi Bagh were among the 18 regions out of 36 which reeled under 'severe" air quality with PM2.5 above 400 units.

The permissible limit for PM2.5 and PM10 is 60 and 80 units by national standards and 25 and 50 units by international standards.

Meanwhile, SAFAR advised people to avoid all outdoor physical activities and those with asthma to keep relief medication handy.

GOVERNMENT IMPOSES SEVERE BAN ON CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES TILL NOVEMBER 10

India Tv - Civil construction has also been suspended in Delhi and other NCR districts, besides closure of all stone crushers and hot mix plants generating dust pollution.

Civil construction has also been suspended in Delhi and other NCR districts, besides closure of all stone crushers and hot mix plants generating dust pollution.

As the air quality of the national capital deteriorated, a ban on construction activities was imposed on Thursday for 10 days to prevent dust from adding to the pollution levels.

There is a halt on all construction activities involving excavation. Civil construction has also been suspended in Delhi and other NCR districts, besides closure of all stone crushers and hot mix plants generating dust pollution.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee has also directed the transport department and the traffic police to intensify checking of polluting vehicles and control travel congestion in the region during November 1-10. 

SALE OF FIRECRACKERS OTHER THAN GREEN CRACKERS BANNED IN DELHI-NCR

India Tv - The apex court said its ban order during Diwali that year was an experiment to examine its effect on pollution levels in the region.

The apex court said its ban order during Diwali that year was an experiment to examine its effect on pollution levels in the region.

The Supreme Court clarified on Wednesday that firecrackers other than green crackers will not be sold in the Delhi-NCR region this Diwali and other festivals. 

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said firecrackers already produced can be sold in this festival season only in other parts of the country. 

In Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and other southern states, firecrackers can be burst from 4 AM to 5 AM and from 9 PM to 10 PM during festivals, the apex court said. 

The top court said that its direction on community bursting of firecrackers will apply pan India for two hours. 

In its October 23 order, the court had ordered that bursting of firecrackers on Diwali and other festivals would be only from 8 PM to 10 PM. 

The bench said that the directions on the ban on sale of firecrackers through e-commerce websites will also apply pan India, the court said. 

The apex court in its October 23 order had said that e-commerce websites will be hauled up for contempt of court if they do not adhere to the court's direction, adding that the Station House Officers of police stations concerned will be held liable if banned firecrackers are sold in their area. 

In the previous hearing, the advocates appearing for firecracker manufacturers had told the bench that the apex court had never intended to order complete ban on bursting of firecrackers on Diwali, but the composition of green crackers was not even finalised. 

They had said that in such a scenario, it would be akin to complete ban on firecrackers as green crackers would possibly come in the market only next year. 

They had also said that lot of changes were required to be made in quality of crackers to make them green and it was impossible to do so within such a short span of time this year. 

Advocate Gopal Shankarnarayanan, appearing for the petitioner on whose plea the October 23 order was passed, had told the court that it had stopped short of imposing a complete ban on use of firecrackers and had said that balance has to be achieved. 

He had referred to last year's order of the apex court and said that as per the direction, no firecrackers could have been brought in Delhi after that order. 

The counsel appearing for the manufacturers had said that they were not at all arguing that the order passed by the apex court was wrong, but they could not comply with the directions in the window given to them. 

On October 9 last year, the top court had temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali. 

Later, the court refused to relax its order while dismissing a plea by traders who had sought permission to sell crackers for at least a day or two before Diwali on October 19, 2017. 

The apex court said its ban order during Diwali that year was an experiment to examine its effect on pollution levels in the region.

POLITICAL BLAME GAME ERUPTS OVER DELHI'S POLLUTION WORRIES

India Tv - Kejriwal further said the quality of air in Delhi deteriorates every year after October 25, once the farmers begin burning paddy stubble.

Kejriwal further said the quality of air in Delhi deteriorates every year after October 25, once the farmers begin burning paddy stubble.

The politics over pollution also intensified, as Ministers from neighbouring states quality skipped a crucial meeting called by Union Ministry, with the Delhi government claiming the latter to be "not serious".

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, and Delhi Minister Hussain blamed the Centre for the absence of Ministers from these states.

"Why didn't ministers from other states attend? It's a collective problem and I urge everyone to please work together. Only then can we find a solution," tweeted Arvind Kejriwal.

Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain, who attended the meeting, said the meeting should have been taken seriously.

Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said that concerned ministers are in touch. 

"Let there be no politics on this matter. We have talked to the Ministers from Punjab and Haryana and they sent their representatives here," Harsh Vardhan told reporters here.

He said that the stubble burning had reduced by 30 per cent over last year, which was good but not enough. 

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held the stubble burning in Punjab responsible for the deteriorating air quality index in the region. He also slammed the Centre for its failure to provide straw management machinery to the farmers.

Kejriwal further said the quality of air in Delhi deteriorates every year after October 25, once the farmers begin burning paddy stubble.

"It happens every year between October 25 and November 20 that the pollution levels go up. The reason behind is stubble (burning)... there is no other reason," said Kejriwal.

"Because of efforts of the Delhi government and the people of Delhi, pollution levels remained under control the whole year. I am not saying it is a good figure but it remained below 200. And now it has jumped suddenly to over 400 after October 25," added Kejriwal.

Noting that not only Delhiites but residents of the national capital region including Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and surrounding places to have to suffer due to the poor air quality, Kejriwal said everyone will have to "work responsibly" to address the issue.

Pollution is set to worsen until at least November 4, with high moisture trapping the pollutants and calm wind not allowing them to disperse, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).

UNION MINISTER VIJAY GOEL PROTESTS AT JANTAR MANTAR, SLAMS KEJRIWAL GOVT OVER RISING POLLUTION

India Tv - Goel, who wore a mask himself during the protest, said Delhi's air pollution could not be blamed on stubble burning by farmers in other states alone.

Goel, who wore a mask himself during the protest, said Delhi's air pollution could not be blamed on stubble burning by farmers in other states alone.

The BJP on Thursday sharpened its attack on the Kejriwal government, accusing it of failing to protect the people from high levels of air pollution, with Union minister Vijay Goel staging a protest at the Jantar Mantar here demanding a "Pollution Free Delhi" and the "Right to Breathe" clean air for Delhiites.

President of Delhi BJP Manoj Tiwari launched the #Mask4Life campaign and asked the media team of the party to tweet photos wearing masks and tag people.

"At present the air is really bad ,Wear the Mask. If the AAP continues to be in slumber, then sadly all of us in Delhi will have to wear a #Mask4Life. It's time we take steps on our own to fight this (sic)," he tweeted.

Goel, who wore a mask himself during the protest, said Delhi's air pollution could not be blamed on stubble burning by farmers in other states alone.

the "Right to Breathe" clean air for Delhiites.

President of Delhi BJP Manoj Tiwari launched the #Mask4Life campaign and asked the media team of the party to tweet photos wearing masks and tag people.

"At present the air is really bad ,Wear the Mask. If the AAP continues to be in slumber, then sadly all of us in Delhi will have to wear a #Mask4Life. It's time we take steps on our own to fight this (sic)," he tweeted.

Goel, who wore a mask himself during the protest, said Delhi's air pollution could not be blamed on stubble burning by farmers in other states alone.

"As per TERI reports, 60 per cent of the sources of Delhi's pollution are located within the city. The real cause of the air quality crisis in Delhi is dust, vehicular pollution, thermal power plants, open waste burning and other infrastructure and industrial activities which the Arvind Kejriwal government has completely failed to tackle," he said.

He claimed that Delhi hospitals were seeing a surge of patients suffering from respiratory and breathing complications due to the pollution.

"With doctors advising people, specially the elderly and children, to stay indoors, more than 2.2 million school children in Delhi are threatened with irreversible lung damages," Goel added.

UNION MINISTER HARSH VARDHAN FLAGS OFF FIVE BUSES FITTED WITH AIR POLLUTANTS

India Tv - Designed by Faridabad-based Manav Rachna Innovation and Incubation Centre (MRIIC), the project proposes to ply 30 more such buses in Delhi. The buses flagged off on Thursday are meant to carry school children. 

Designed by Faridabad-based Manav Rachna Innovation and Incubation Centre (MRIIC), the project proposes to ply 30 more such buses in Delhi. The buses flagged off on Thursday are meant to carry school children. 

Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday flagged off five buses fitted with air-filters, which trap the pollutants in the air, as a pilot project. 

He along with his Delhi counterpart Imran Husaain also formed 52 rapid action teams consisting of over 250 officials from the Centre and Delhi government to control air pollution and check environment-related offences for the next 10 days. 

Designed by Faridabad-based Manav Rachna Innovation and Incubation Centre (MRIIC), the project proposes to ply 30 more such buses in Delhi. The buses flagged off on Thursday are meant to carry school children. 

The buses clean atmospheric air through filters --Pariyayantra -- fitted on their roof. The filters don't require any power to operate and are equivalent to filtration provided by six room air-filters, said the developers from MRIIC. 

The developers said these air filter units can be mounted on the roof of any vehicle, including auto-rickshaws and two-wheelers. 

"As the vehicle moves, air passes through the holes in front of the device. During experiments, we found the filters can trap up to 98% of the particulate matter," said Prof. B.S. Gill, leader of the research team. 

Union Minister  Harsh Vardhan on Thursday launched a manual on asthma which gives details of how school administration must behave in case of an emergency.

The manual is a compilation of simple, easy to understand information to know about childhood asthma and the best practices that schools can implement to provide a safe and supportive environment for children.

Vardhan said the manual will help the school administration in dealing with emergencies associated with breathing problems.

GOVT PLANS TO BRING DOWN PM2.5, PM 10 LEVELS IN DEFINITIVE PER CENT BY 2024, SAYS OFFICIAL

India Tv - According to a WHO report, India recorded the highest number of air pollution-induced deaths of children below five years in 2016.

According to a WHO report, India recorded the highest number of air pollution-induced deaths of children below five years in 2016.

The government plans to bring down the level of particulate matters 2.5 and 10, major contributors to air pollution, by a definitive percentage by 2024, an official said.

In a presentation at the World Health Organisation (WHO) Summit in Geneva on Thursday, India said there will be a "time-bound" national strategy to tackle air pollution.

This is possibly for the first time that the government has set a definitive target to bring down pollution under a timeframe.

The official said the target is to bring down the pollution by 20-30 per cent.

There is also a plan to have a strategy for 102 cities, towns at the national level, the official added.

According to a WHO report, India recorded the highest number of air pollution-induced deaths of children below five years in 2016. The report said the highest death rate was due to highest respiratory infection.

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