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Delhi-NCR Pollution: Air Deemed ‘Poisonous’; Expert Warns of Potential Lung Damage in Infants

Delhi-NCR Pollution: The air quality in Delhi and its surrounding regions, as recorded on November 3, has plunged to alarming levels, breaching the ‘severe’ category and surpassing the ‘400’ AQI mark. Several prominent stations such as Anand Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, and Mundka registered pollution levels categorized as ‘severe’ by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

The severity of the situation prompted immediate actions, including a ban on non-essential construction activities and the closure of primary schools in the capital. Additionally, restrictions have been imposed on diesel and petrol vehicles operating in and around Delhi in an effort to mitigate the exacerbation of pollution levels.

Government agencies have issued warnings, indicating a potential aggravation in the pollution levels over the coming 15-20 days. This anticipated rise is attributed to an upsurge in farm fires, coupled with an expected decline in temperature and air speed. The smoky haze that has engulfed the national capital on Thursday is expected to persist over the next few days.

The concentration of PM2.5, a hazardous fine particulate matter, has soared to 7 to 8 times above the safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic meter across various locations. This concerning level of pollution has the potential to trigger respiratory and health issues among the populace.

“Stubble burning is identified as a major contributor, accounting for 25% of the PM2.5 pollution on November 2, with projections indicating a potential rise to 35% on the current day, as reported by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune”.

Taking immediate action to combat the hazardous pollution levels, the Noida Police launched a series of measures. Approximately 175 vehicles violating pollution control norms were seized, and fines were imposed on around 7,000 vehicles. DCP (Traffic) Noida, Anil Kumar Yadav, highlighted the 15-day campaign targeting aged diesel and petrol vehicles, as well as vehicles with expired pollution and fitness certificates.

“The possibility of reintroducing the ‘odd-even’ scheme has been discussed. Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai affirmed that decisions regarding the scheme align with the directives of the Commission for Air Quality Management. Contingent on the seriousness of the situation, further actions will be considered after comprehensive discussions”.

The escalating pollution crisis in Delhi-NCR calls for immediate and collaborative efforts from authorities and citizens alike to curb the hazardous impact on the environment and public health. Measures undertaken and discussions ongoing aim to address the severity of the situation, with a focus on sustainable solutions to combat and mitigate the escalating pollution levels.

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