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  4. Delhi's 'hazardous' air quality is now bigger threat than COVID, say experts; political parties at spat

Delhi's 'hazardous' air quality is now bigger threat than COVID, say experts; political parties at spat

According to an official report released by the Delhi government, the contribution of stubble burning to the city's PM 2.5 pollution was recorded at 36 per cent as of Friday. This is the highest emission so far this season.     

India TV News Desk Edited by: India TV News Desk New Delhi Published on: November 06, 2021 18:08 IST
delhi aqi
Image Source : PTI

Flowers bloom during the winter season as a thick layer of smog engulfs the city skyline, following Diwali celebrations in Gurugram

Two days after Diwali, Delhi's air quality level was recorded in 'hazardous' and 'severe' categories in multiple places. While the pollution levels were on the rise even before Diwali, the firecrackers at the festivals were only a catalyst. Experts suggest that without a strong wind or rain, it is impossible for the citizens of the national capital and the surrounding regions to escape the gas chambers. 

According to an official report released by the Delhi government, the contribution of stubble burning to the city's PM 2.5 pollution was recorded at 36 per cent as of Friday. This is the highest emission so far this season. 

Political parties at spat

Amid the worsening AQI, political parties in Delhi have engaged in allegations and counter-allegations. 

Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi's environment minister Gopal Rai blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the pollution. Delhi Environment minister Gopal Rai said that though a large number of people refrained from bursting crackers, a few people did it on purpose.

He said Delhi's air quality deteriorated on Friday morning due to a surge in farm fires and some people bursting firecrackers on purpose on Diwali despite a ban on it. Rai alleged that the BJP made people burst firecrackers on Diwali on Thursday. "A large number of people did not burst firecrackers. I thank them all. But some people burst firecrackers on purpose. The BJP made them do it," he told reporters.

In response, BJP leader and its IT cell in-charge Amit Malviya said that the Kejriwal-led government in Delhi had failed to control the air pollution. 

"Delhi's AQI was in the hazardous zone even before the crackers came out. Anyone suggesting otherwise is trying to make Arvind Kejriwal look good, who had unleashed a diabolical campaign to dissuade Delhiites from bursting crackers. Poor air quality is a result of anything BUT Diwali," he tweeted.

Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor alleged that Rai's thinking was "influenced" by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, and said the Delhi government completely failed to control air pollution.

"The Delhi government has totally failed to control air and water pollution in Delhi and therefore, to evade responsibility minister Gopal Rai has tried to squarely blame Diwali night crackers for air pollution and Chhath Puja at Yamuna Ghats for Yamuna ji's water pollution in true Aurangzebi style," Kapoor charged.

Even a smog tower couldn't help

Even the recently-launched smog tower at Connaught Place could not give breathable air to residents nearby on Diwali night as the air quality across Delhi-NCR nosedived to the "severe" zone following rampant cracker bursting, government data showed.

India Tv - delhi aqi

Image Source : PTI

A truck mounted with anti-smog gun is used to spray water droplets to curb air pollution, as a thick layer of smog engulfs the national capital following Diwali celebrations

Around 9 pm on Thursday, the 24-metre-high air purifier, considered the first such structure in India, recorded a PM2. 5 concentration of 642 micrograms per cubic metre at the inlet and 453 micrograms per cubic metre at the outlet.

The smog tower could only reduce the PM10 level from 649 micrograms per cubic metre to 511 micrograms per cubic metre, as per the readings taken at 9 pm. The safe limit for the lung-damaging fine particles PM2. 5 and PM10 is 60 micrograms per cubic metre and 100 micrograms per cubic metre, respectively.

ALSO, READ | Delhi witnesses worst post-Diwali AQI in 5 years; smog levels off the charts

The experts' take

The director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, Randeep Guleria, on Saturday said that the pollution can also lead to more severe cases of Covid. 

"Pollution has a huge effect on respiratory health especially on ppl with lung diseases, asthma as their disease worsens. Pollution can also lead to more severe cases of Covid. Should wear mask as it'll help in protection from both Covid & pollution," he said. 

A cardiology professor at AIIMS also said, "Air pollution is now a much bigger threat than COVID." He added, "Elderlies, patients with lung & heart problems, COVID-recovered patients, and pregnant women are very much susceptible to such kind of poor air quality."

(With agencies inputs)

Also Read: Air quality in Delhi remains 'severe'; slight improvement likely by tomorrow

Also Read: Delhi air quality turns hazardous, crosses 600-mark at several places

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