The Delhi government on Saturday deployed 114 water tankers to sprinkle water on roads to settle dust, one of major contributors to air pollution, after the national capital’s air quality deteriorated following the Diwali festival. Environment Minister Gopal Rai flagged off the water tankers, terming it an “emergency measure” to help people. Read More
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Agra witnessed a rise in the number of people suffering from respiratory issues post Diwali even as the city recorded an air quality index at 380 on Saturday. The city has been covered in a dense layer of smog since Diwali on November 4. READ MORE
Officials of the Agriculture Department in Kaithal douse the fire that was set to the stubble piled up in agricultural fields.
The Delhi government on Saturday deployed 114 water tankers to sprinkle water on roads to settle dust, one of major contributors to air pollution, after the national capital’s air quality deteriorated following the Diwali festival. Environment Minister Gopal Rai flagged off the water tankers, terming it an “emergency measure” to help people. “Last month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had launched an action plan that is being implemented across the city. Along with the people of Delhi, we are running the campaign to check the local source of air pollution in the city — be it dust, vehicle or biomass pollution,” Rai told reporters.
Delhi Environment Minister said Gopal Rai the government has started spraying water on roads with the help of anti-smog water tanks to reduce the air pollution as an emergency measure. “We have also banned 92 construction sites for violating norms,” he said.
As an emergency measure, we've started spraying water on roads with the help of anti-smog water tanks to reduce the air pollution. We've also banned 92 construction sites for violating norms: Delhi Environment Minister, Gopal Rai pic.twitter.com/sWz78LKoqe
— ANI (@ANI) November 6, 2021
Delhi recorded its poorest post-Diwali air quality in five years on Friday with a deadly cocktail of noxious fumes from firecrackers and stubble burning pushing the 24-average AQI to 462, according to data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) the day after Diwali was 435 last year, 368 in 2019; 390 in 2018; 403 in 2017 and 445 in 2016. The AQI was 382 on Diwali day this year, 414 in 2020; 337 in 2019; 281 in 2018; 319 in 2017 and 431 in 2016.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution is one of the biggest environmental threats to human health, alongside climate change. It recommends new air quality levels to protect the health of people, by reducing levels of key air pollutants/particulate matter equal or smaller than 10 and 2.5 microns (µm) in diameter (PM₁₀ and PM₂.₅, respectively). They not only affect the lungs but PM₂.₅ can enter the bloodstream, causing cardiovascular and respiratory impacts. Read More
Delhi witnessed a cold morning on Saturday as the minimum temperature in the city was recorded at 14.7 degrees Celsius, normal for this time of the season. The city will witness a partly cloudy sky with shallow to moderate fog in the morning and strong surface winds during the day, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Saturday.
The maximum temperature is likely to hover around 28 degrees Celsius, it said. Humidity at 8.30 am was 78 per cent, the IMD said.
The air quality in Delhi improved slightly on Saturday due to higher wind speed, which is expected to flush out pollutants further over the next two days, weather experts said. According to Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) Sameer app, the city’s air quality index (AQI) stood at 449 in the severe category at 8 am on Saturday. It was 462 on Friday. Due to rampant bursting of crackers on Diwali on Thursday despite restrictions in place, the air quality in Delhi was the poorest in five years post the festival with rise in incidents of stubble burning in neighbouring states.
Punjab Cabinet Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu said farmers and people in urban areas should also think to control pollution. “Everyone has to think. This is not just a matter of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, it is a global matter,” he said.
Fireworks after 8 pm led to major changes in PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations in Delhi on the Diwali night, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee said in a report on Friday. The sudden deterioration in Delhi’s air quality this year can be attributed to extremely calm conditions, change in wind direction and low ventilation coefficient, and use of firecrackers, according to the DPCC’s Diwali day air pollution analysis. This year, the 24-hour city average concentration of PM10 on the day of Diwali is 748 and PM2.5 is 607, the report read. Though the increase in the concentration of pollutants was observed since Wednesday evening, the major changes were observed after 8 pm on Diwali when the fireworks started, PTI quoted the DPCC as saying.
Sunil Dahiya of the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said all environmentalists and scientists have been saying there is no proven record or data globally that establishes that smog towers are effective. “This experiment at Connaught Place has shown that smog towers can never be a solution to the problem of air pollution. Any further wastage of money on such structures should be stopped immediately. The money should be utilised to reduce pollution at source,” he told PTI. The reaction comes after recently-launched smog tower at Connaught Place failed to 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.
The air quality index (AQI) from Delhi – PM10 in Connaught Place at 654, PM 2.5 at 628; PM10 is at 382 and PM2.5 at 341 near Janta Mantar and PM2.5 is at 374 near ITO. The overall air quality in Delhi continues to be in ‘severe’ category as it stood at 533 on Saturday morning, said System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
Here are the quality categories of the AQI:
• 0–50: Good – Minimal Impact
• 51–100: Satisfactory – Some people prone to health conditions may experience slight breathing difficulties.
• 101–200: Polluted moderately – It may cause breathing difficulties in persons with lung diseases such as asthma, as well as discomfort in people with heart disease, children, and the elderly.
• 201–300: Poor – It may cause breathing issues in persons exposed for an extended period of time, as well as discomfort in people with heart condition.
• 301–400: Very poor – Prolonged exposure to this AQI level may cause respiratory disease. People with lung and heart disorders may be particularly affected.
• 401-500: Severe – It may cause respiratory problems in healthy persons, as well as major health problems in people with lung/heart illness. Difficulties can occur even during light physical exertion.
Different countries report air quality using different point scales. In the United States, for example, a rating between 0 and 50 is considered good on a 500-point scale. A rating of 301 to 500 is considered dangerous. India, too, uses a 500-point scale. Every day, important pollution concentrations are recorded by monitors. Using EPA-developed standard equations, these raw values are transformed into a single AQI value for each pollutant (ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, and sulphur dioxide). The highest of these AQI values is reported as the day’s AQI value, according to this Business Standard report.
Stubble burning accounted for 36 per cent of Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution on Friday, the highest this season so far, according to government air quality forecast agency SAFAR. “The overall air quality of Delhi plunged to the upper end of the ‘severe’ category with additional firework emissions The share of stubble emissions has peaked today at 36 per cent,” said Gufran Beig, the founder project director of SAFAR. “Local winds have picked up, and fast dispersion (of pollutants) is expected now. Without any more firecracker emissions, the AQI will improve to the ‘very poor’ category by tonight although the stubble contribution is expected to remain almost the same (on Saturday),” he said. On Thursday, farm fires accounted for 25 per cent of Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution.
The AQI is calculated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for five primary air pollutants for which national air quality limits have been established to protect public health.
1. Ground-level ozone
2. Particle pollution/particulate matter (PM2.5/pm 10)
3. Carbon Monoxide
4. Sulfur dioxide
5. Nitrogen dioxide
Supreme Court judge Justice S Ravindra Bhat on Friday said that the weather outside is not good at all while referring to the spike in air pollution level in the national capital post-Diwali celebrations. Speaking at a book launch, Justice Bhat said, I will shock you by saying that the only thing good about this morning is this event because the weather outside is not good at all. Recently, the apex court had said that celebration cannot be at the cost of others’ health and clarified that while there is no total ban on the use of firecrackers, those fireworks which contain Barium salts are prohibited.
The AQI is a number used by government agencies to assess and communicate air pollution levels to the public. A higher AQI indicates unfavourable health effects for a huge proportion of the population. It is measured using an air sensor and an air pollutant concentration over a predetermined averaging period. The results are classified into ranges, with each range receiving a descriptor, a colour code, and a standardised public health advisory.
Historically, all continents have used the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) AQI. When numerous contaminants are measured at a monitoring site, the highest AQI value in a one-hour average is given for that site. However, each country’s air pollution is highly distinctive to the country’s pollution kind, according to reports.
Delhi is expected to witness a “partly cloudy sky with shallow fog in the morning and strong surface winds during the day” on Saturday, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday. The maximum temperature is likely to reach up to 29 degrees Celsius, while the minimum is expected to settle at 14 degrees Celsius, it forecast.
“Last month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had launched an action plan that is being implemented across the city. Along with the people of Delhi, we are running the campaign to check the local source of air pollution in the city — be it dust, vehicle or biomass pollution,” Rai told reporters.
He added that on Diwali, instances of crop residue burning in Punjab and Haryana along with bursting of firecrackers in the city added to air pollution. “Even today, incidents of stubble burning are increasing. Yesterday, about 3,500 incidents were recorded and today, it is more than 4,000. All this is impacting Delhi’s air. As an emergency measure and to help people, we are sprinkling water from the tankers. We have even installed smog guns,” the Aam Aadmi Party leader said.
Rai on Friday blamed the BJP for defying of the firecracker ban by people, alleging that the saffron party made them burst crackers on purpose, as the city’s air quality index (AQI) entered the ‘severe’ category on Diwali night and continued its upward trend to reach 462 at noon on Friday. The 24-hour average air AQI the day after Diwali was 435 last year, 368 in 2019; 390 in 2018; 403 in 2017 and 445 in 2016. The AQI was 382 on Diwali day this year, 414 in 2020; 337 in 2019; 281 in 2018; 319 in 2017 and 431 in 2016.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee also shut down 92 construction and demolition projects across the city on Friday for flouting dust control norms.