Air quality in Capital worsens post Dussehra celebrations: What Delhi is doing to curb air pollution
New Delhi, Oct 26: The air quality in the national capital worsened on Monday morning post Dussehra celebrations, as the overall air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 349. The slight increase in AQI was observed as there was a rise in the concentration of both, PM10 and PM2.5 pollutants.
The air quality is likely to pose additional health risks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
This comes even as the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has been implemented in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) from October 15 to check air pollution, which spikes around this time of the year.
According to the air quality index (AQI) maintained by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.
As per CPCB figures available at 8.00 am on Monday, Air Quality Index in Anand Vihar region was measured 402, which falls in the "severe" category. At 309, ITO's air was found to be "very poor". According to the CPCB, an AQI in the "very poor" category can lead to respiratory illness on prolonged exposure, while "severe" affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases.
On Sunday, Delhi's air quality plunged to 'severe' in at least three areas and remained in the 'very poor' zone for most other parts. On Saturday, the city's overall AQI reading was 345.
As part of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), the Delhi govt has also installed anti-smog guns at large construction sites in the national capital to control pollution. Reportedly smog guns have already been placed at 10 construction sites in Delhi.
Red Light On, Gaadi Off campaign
In view of the rising pollution levels in Delhi, the Delhi government has been carrying out an anti-dust campaign called Red Light On, Gaadi off to reduce vehicular emission. The Arvind Kejriwal led government in the national capital estimates that nearly 15-20% vehicular pollution can be controlled, if people cooperate and participate in this mass campaign.
It is essentially a fungi-based liquid solution that can soften hard stubble to the extent that it can be easily mixed with soil in the field to act as compost.
This would then rule out the need to burn the stubble, and also help in retaining the essential microbes and nutrients in soil that are otherwise damaged when the residue is burned. However, the govt needs farmers' consent to spray the solution in their field.
Diesel generators banned
Starting October 15, diesel generator sets can no longer be used except for essential and emergency services in Delhi and the NCR towns of Noida, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, Faridabad, and Gurgaon. The only exception is DG sets used for emergency and essential services.
Ban on construction on cards
As of now, authorities have not banned construction in Delhi NCR region. However, authorities have made it clear that measures such as a ban on construction activity, industries using non-PNG fuels, and closure of thermal power plants will kick in when the air quality in the region hits emergency levels.