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Pollution horror: When Delhi turns 10 times more polluted than Beijing

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    New Delhi, Nov 10: Recently, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal compared the national capital to a gas chamber as he tweeted in this regard.

    "Delhi has become a gas chamber. Every year this happens during this part of year. We have to find a soln to crop burning in adjoining states," he tweeted.

    delhi smog

    The comparison by the CM is not an aggravation, but a sad reality about the severe level of air pollution in the national capital.

    Delhi is literally choking in the last few days as it has become impossible for people to breathe. As a precautionary measure, schools in Delhi and neighbouring areas have been closed till Sunday.

    Since early morning, thick blanket of smog could be seen hovering over the city skyline, which many might confuse with the winter fog. But the layer of smog is nothing but suspended pollutant particles mixed with moisture that is refusing to leave the city anytime soon.

    The seriousness of the situation hit us more as experts have declared the current pollution level in the national capital 10 times more than Beijing, the capital city of China, which is infamous for air pollution. India's national capital is facing a "public health emergency situation".

    "The city's (Delhi's) air quality is off the charts. The Air Quality Index (AQI) was over 999 in some parts of the capital -- that's almost 30 times the safe limits set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and 10 times more polluted than Beijing, the city infamous for air pollution," stated a report by CBS News.

    "PM 2.5 particles, which are small enough to settle inside your lungs and cause severe respiratory diseases, peaked above 700 micrograms per cubic meter. At this level, not just children and elderly, but everyone is warned to remain indoors. The WHO safe limit is 60," added the report.

    Residents of the city are complaining about difficulty in breathing, eye and skin irritation and low visibility on roads, some of the common grouses of Delhi during every winter.

    But this time the situation is far worse and is fatal, as experts say. The administration has decided to reintroduce odd-even formula to reduce the number of vehicles on roads, suspension of all construction work and ban on entry of heavy trucks into the city, except those carrying essential items, to name a few emergency steps taken by the authorities to tackle the situation a bit.

    Environment activists like Sunita Narain said that temporary measures taken by government bodies are not enough. Narain, director general, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), cautioned against putting too much hope in temporary solutions such as closure of schools.

    "Cities and administrations need to implement solutions and take bold decisions to reduce emissions. The range of actions recommended and directed by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) is targeted at doing just that, and it is now up to the political leadership of Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) to take their implementation forward," she added.

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