Pollution: Public health emergency declared in Delhi, schools shut

air pollution in asia pacific region
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New Delhi (NVI): The air quality in Delhi has turned “hazardous” with a thick layer of smoky haze continuing to shroud it on November 1 even as the Environment Prevention and Control Authority has declared public health emergency in Delhi-NCR and banned all construction works while the city schools have been closed till November 5.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal blamed the neighbouring states punjab and haryana for turning the national capital into ‘‘gas chamber’’ and urged the two states to take urgent actions against stubble burning. He also distributed masks among school students  appealed to all Delhiites to use the pollution masks. The Delhi government had on October 31 announced to distribute 50 lakh pollution masks among the students of city schools.

The CPCB air quality index, which measures the concentration of poisonous particulate matter, touched a high 829 in Anand Vihar area, which falls in the “severe plus” category on November 1.

The index has exceeded 800 which is classified as hazardous level on the government scale, which means these tiny poisonous particulate matter can be carried deep into the lungs, causing deadly diseases including respiratory illnesses, cancer and cardiac problems.

Taking Twitter, Kejriwal Tweeted ‘Delhi has turned into a gas chamber due to smoke from crop burning in neighbouring states It is very imp that we protect ourselves from this toxic air. Through pvt & govt schools, we have started distributing 50 lakh masks today I urge all Delhiites to use them whenever needed.’

He Tweeted “Khattar and Captain governments are forcing their farmers to burn stubble, due to which there is heavy pollution in Delhi.Yesterday, people protested at the Punjab and Haryana Bhawan and expressed their anger towards the governments there.”

He also Tweeted “Due to the rising smoke of straw in Delhi, the level of pollution has increased very much. Therefore, the government has decided that all schools in Delhi will remain closed till 5 November.”

 

Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Indian Pollution Control Association (IPCA) Dr. Radha Goyal told NVI that Delhi’s air pollution levels are deadly taking toll on life of people. Inspite of all regulatory measures followed (mostly on paper) under Graded Response Action Plan to curb the levels of air pollution in the city, levels have reached again to “hazardous”.

“Where is the gap? Until, there is not a strong implementation of action plan and heavy fines on polluters irrespective of any individual, community, industry, civilian, non- civilian, government and non government, the problem is not going to be solved. We can not always keep depending on mercy of God wind and Sun to save Delhi from being the gas chamber and a bowl of toxic pollutants.” she told NVI.

”We all have to understand that Delhi has already lost its capacity to accommodate more anthropogenic activities contributing to any kind of environmental stress. So, if we want to live in Delhi, it’s the duty of each individual to behave and act responsibly to reduce the impacts of our actions on the environment and ultimately our health. We have to stop playing the blame game with each other.”, she added.

-sb