The situation of air pollution in Delhi has never been worse. Literally.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi's 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) stood at 494 at 4 pm on Sunday, the highest since November 6, 2016, when it was 497. Delhi pollution is at its peak this year.
Air Quality Index on Monday showed major pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 were both at 500 — in the ‘severe' category. Delhi's residents are waking up to a white haze, not of fog, but one of pollution, enveloping them as they continued struggling to breathe.
While on social media, jokes were cracked and memes were created by netizens showing on a subject that wasn't quite the opposite of funny. The message, however, was clear: We are choking.
Meanwhile, our elected representatives and politicians seemed to be pre-occupied with other things. When they did give advice on air pollution, and how to counter it, they were really bizarre and didn't really appear to be rooted in scientific measures.
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan suggested that eating carrots was one of the ways that you could counter pollution-related health problems. No, really. Feeling shortness of breath? You can now munch your health problems away!
We are wondering how many carrots does it take to make the air quality healthy.
#EatRightIndia_34 Eating carrots helps the body get Vitamin A, potassium, & antioxidants which protect against night blindness common in India. Carrots also help against other pollution-related harm to health.#EatRightIndia @PMOIndia @MoHFW_INDIA @fssaiindia pic.twitter.com/VPjVfiMpR8 — Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) November 3, 2019
Not far behind, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, posted a more melodious solution: music. Ignoring the major problem of air pollution, he posted a "scintillating thematic composition."
Start your day with music. Below is the link to a scintillating thematic composition "Swagatam" by Veena exponent Emani Sankara Sastry.https://t.co/9e4mtx6I64 For more such compositions click onhttps://t.co/yMIlz7rrA9 #IndianMusic https://t.co/9e4mtx6I64 — Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) November 3, 2019
He didn't stop at asking us to start our day with music, instead of fresh air. He also told us of the awards being given out for music.
But we got nothing on the measures being taken to curb pollution.
And if the pollution wasn't bad enough already, Uttar Pradesh Minister, Sunil Bharala, suggested that a yajna may be the solution we need. Counter air pollution with more air pollution. Two negatives make a positive - right?
He also added how the stubble burning "doesn't really cause much pollution, it's a natural system," and "repeated criticism of it is unfortunate." His solution to pollution? "The government should organize 'Yagya' to please Lord Indra, (God of rain), as it was done traditionally, and Lord Indra will make it rain, and automatically set things right.
#WATCH Uttar Pradesh minister Sunil Bharala: Farmers have always practiced stubble burning, it's a natural system. Repeated criticism of it is unfortunate. Govts should hold 'Yagya' to please Lord Indra (God of rain), as done traditionally. He (Lord Indra) will set things right. pic.twitter.com/EcImGAbVrl — ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) November 3, 2019
There were some, who wanted to defy pollution itself, with 'symbolism.' A day before the odd-even road rationing scheme rolled out, BJP parliamentarian Vijay Goel on Sunday said he would violate the rule and alleged that it was an "election stunt" of the Kejriwal government. "My violation of odd-even scheme of the Kejriwal government will be symbolic because it's an election stunt and drama in view of assembly election," Goel told PTI, adding that he would ride an odd-numbered vehicle on even day.
सभी पर्यावरण संस्थाएं बताती हैं की ओड-इवन से कोई फायदा नहीं है|ओड-इवन के इस नाटक का विरोध करने के लिए कल अपनी कार से दिल्ली की सड़कों पर निकलूंगा| — Vijay Goel (@VijayGoelBJP) November 3, 2019
But that wasn't all. Politicians figured that hey if you couldn't fix the problem, you can always flex it away - right?
National Spokesperson for the Indian National Congress, and MP from Sri Anandpur Sahib, Manish Tewari, brought light to the issue of air pollution in a strange way, by showing how he, was exempt from it.
If stubble burning is the problem then has anyone asked the farmer why does he burn stubble? The shroud that envelopes Delhi is the shroud a farmer wears on a daily basis. Want Clean Air Pay ATTN: TO FARMERS. A bright sunny day at our home in Chandigarh. Clean Green & Bright. pic.twitter.com/wkTgaO2tf6 — Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) November 4, 2019
Delhi's air pollution, as of Monday, remains severe.