Severe Smog Continues to Blanket Delhi, Primary Schools Closed Today
The Delhi government has also stopped all outdoor activities in schools, after the Indian Medical Association (IMA) asked it to take steps to protect children from the "hazardous" air pollution levels.
The air quality of the national capital improved on Wednesday to "very poor" category.
New Delhi: The national capital saw yet another hazardous morning on Wednesday, as its early morning air quality index (AQI) remained severe and smog continued to envelop the city.
At 6 am, Delhi's AQI read 480, while Delhi-NCR’s was 445. By 2 pm, Delhi's levels increased to 486 and NCR was at 470. Conditions are termed severe when the AQI levels are between 400 and 500.
Data gathered by the pollution monitors painted a grim picture across the capital, with areas such as Siri Fort and RK Puram having an AQI of 482 and 486, while, Shadipur and Punjabi Bagh had AQIs of 491 and 492.
Pollution levels reaching severe category are reminiscent of the public health emergency that Delhi faced in 2016. Keeping in mind the particularly high levels in the morning, the Delhi government told schools in the city, up till class V, to shut down on Wednesday.
The government has also stopped all outdoor activities in schools, after the Indian Medical Association (IMA) asked it to take steps to protect children from the "hazardous" air pollution levels.
The government has also advised citizens to not burn dry leaves, crop residue, wood or coal. It has encouraged the use of carpooling and public transport, to cut down on vehicular emissions.
The Supreme Court has also stepped in and constituted the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) asking Delhi Metro to lower its fares during non-peak hours for the next 10 days and introduce more coaches.
Targeting the number of cars taken out on Delhi roads, the EPCA has also recommended quadrupling parking fees, while floating a fine of Rs 50,000 on road construction agencies who were not following pollution norms. If conditions get worse, construction will be temporarily banned, as it was last year.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has blamed Delhi’s neighbouring states for the health hazard, as smoke from burning crop stubble in Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh blankets Delhi. On November 5, reports from Haryana said that stubble had been burnt at 640 locations reducing visibility to zero in the state.
Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan, speaking from the climate change talks in Bonn, Germany, asked the state governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to implement a ban on stubble burning and requested the governments to take effective steps for mitigating the levels of air pollution and bring them to acceptable levels.
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