Smog and haze surround the nation’s capital as the Air Quality Index marks an alarming ‘severe plus’ level. The city breaching the 450-level mark indicates the persistence of the poor air quality for several days to come. On the background of the latest Air Quality Index report, all the primary schools in and around the city are to remain shut at least till Monday.
The ‘severe plus’ category calls for immediate actions from the government to reinstate the air quality to its healthy levels as soon as possible. The current Delhi scenario owes to a number of contributing factors, including stubble burning, climate change, dispersal of local pollutants, etc.
Vinai Kumar Saxena, Delhi Lieutenant Governor, calls for an emergency meeting to decide on pollution mitigation. He requests all governmental agencies to prioritize pollution extenuation over all other departmental activities. He appeals to the general public to keep away from the streets as much as possible, remain indoors, and only use public transportation vehicles for emergency travels.
As stubble burning in neighborhood states like Punjab is a significant contributing factor to the diminishing air quality in Delhi, L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena is said to have requested the said states to limit the stubble burning activity. According to the recent reports, Punjab accounts for the 71.57% stubble burning incidents reported on November 1.
The city of Delhi has been witnessing frightening levels of air pollution for several years now. The fall of air quality in Delhi at every onset of winter has already received much national and international attention. The Air Quality Index report of Delhi states that the values rose overnight from 351 on Thursday to a whopping 468 by Friday evening.
With the current peaking of events that resulted in a severe haze and smog yesterday, dated 03-11-2023, the Delhi government banned all demolition activities and non-essential construction works. All BS-IV diesel and BS-III petrol LMVs also come under the ban issued the other day. Considering the adverse health impacts the pollution can cause, all the primary schools in the city continue to be closed until Monday.
As part of the emergency pollution mitigation methods, the Delhi government has employed anti-smog guns throughout the city. They are also attempting to sprinkle water on the streets and roads in the hope of preventing the dust from rising.
Despite the emergency measures from the government and the Commission for Air Quality Management, the pollution levels are expected to remain the same for at least the next two to three days. As per the metrological department experts, Delhi is currently experiencing adverse climatic conditions with a severe lack of rain, non-conducive wind direction, and low wind speed. These adverse climatic conditions are not ideal for the air quality of Delhi to improve significantly.
Amidst the pollution and associated chaos, the Commission for Air Quality Management continues its implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). The Graded Response Action Plan was prepared initially by the central government’s Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change in 2016 after a Supreme Court order.