Delhi's air quality turned 'severe' for the first time this season

Delhi's air quality turned 'severe' for the first time this season

Delhi's air quality turned 'severe' for the first time this season

"A child who is born in Delhi is taking in gulps of bad air which is equivalent to smoking 20 to 25 cigarettes on the first day of his life", said Arvind Kumar, a prominent Delhi lung surgeon.

Delhi's air quality is expected to deteriorate to "severe plus emergency" category after Diwali, the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said.

Delhi's overall air quality index on Monday was recorded at 434, which falls in the "severe" category, a drastic decline from Sunday's "moderate" level at 171.

Therefore, the pollutants would not move away, and the air quality might get dragged from severe to hazardous category.

As air pollution levels continue to worsen in India's national capital and its surrounding area, New Delhi has chose to observe "Clean Air Week" between 1 November to 5 November.

The advisory, written by Bhure Lal, Chairman, EPCA, to Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan says, "There has been a significant intrusion of bio-mass (stubble) generated pollution early morning today owing to faster transport level winds (925hpa) coming from the North-West region".

In Delhi-NCR, the PM2.5 was recorded 186 and PM10 was recorded at 319, the CPCB data said. The state's Pollution Control Body has been directed to initiate criminal prosecution against violators while the Delhi government said, "It is fully prepared to implement odd-even scheme when needed". This exercise is a part of emergency measures to control pollution from Thursday in Delhi NCR.

An official said that the EPCA is even considering regulating use of private vehicles in the wake of an alarming rise in air pollution in Delhi.

Air quality will be "bad" on Thursday, 8 November - a day after Diwali - even if "partial toxic crackers" are used as compared to previous year, SAFAR said.

A division bench, headed by Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, also said that pollution-causing firecrackers, which have already been manufactured, will not be allowed to be sold in the NCR.

As per SAFAR's forecast, if no firecrackers are burned, PM 2.5 on the day of Diwali that is November 8 will stand at 378, falling under "very poor" category.

Delhi residents were bracing for the fall-out from Diwali, one of the year's biggest Hindu festivals, which is expected to add to the chronic air pollution problem in the Indian capital.

From premature births and underweight babies to a flare-up in arthritis to increased risk of stroke, Delhi tops national charts in bad air quality.

Tourists, including foreigners, visiting Delhi ahead of Diwali complained of having a tough time due to increasing air pollution in the city, with some even cutting short their trips citing health concerns.

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