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For 92 days in 2018, Delhites breathed severely polluted air

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New Delhi: The national capital saw alarming levels of air pollution in the winter of 2017-18 and even in the summer months of the gone year. In 2018 Delhi had 5 good pollution days, 66 moderate, 145 poor, 57 very poor and 92 severe days. Most importantly, majority of the people in Delhi is not happy with the air quality and as compared to the last year, the air quality hasn't improved much.

Delhi Smog

Since pollution levels in Delhi have persistently crossed severe levels for the last 3 winters, United Residents Joint Action (URJA), the apex body of Delhi's rwas, filed 45 rtis to Central, State and Municipal bodies responsible for overseeing the implementation of GRAP and analyse its effectiveness. The study also includes a public perception survey across 10 locations in Delhi near CPCB monitoring areas like ITO, Patparganj, Siri Fort, Bawana, Lodhi Road, RK Puram, Ashok Vihar, Anand Vihar and Rohini.

The study reveals that while industrial activity and compliance within Delhi city borders is controlled, the number of industries functioning without pollution control norms in states like Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, point towards the problem of industrial pollution afflicting the entire region.

The survey questionnaire was administered across the wards covered in a 2 km radius around the identified 10 locations in Delhi where CPCB monitors have been installed :

a. Anand Vihar b. Ashok Vihar c. Dwarka d. ITO e. Lodhi Road f. Patparganj g. Rohini h. R K Puram i. Siri Fort j. Bawana

Here are the highlights of the report:

Unawareness continues

Unawareness continues

  • 89% of the respondents are not aware about the Air Pollution Monitors installed in their area.
  • 88% of the total respondents have not seen any led screens showing the air quality as severe/good/bad in different colours in different parts of delhi. 93% of the respondents do not understand the meaning of air quality index (aqi) and do now know when it is termed as bad, good, severe or very poor.
  • 43% respondents have shared that it is little better but 30% respondents have shared that it is little worse than the last year. only 7% think that it is the same as last year, 9% think it is much worse and 10% think it is much better.
  • 93% of the total respondents are not aware about the health advisories issued by govt. In public interests in winter. 53% of the respondents are aware of the Odd-Even scheme for private vehicles in Delhi, 37% respondents are unaware.
Pollution affects lives

Pollution affects lives

  • 58% respondents have shared that the air pollution affects them and 42% are unaffected. Among the respondents who have expressed about getting affected by the air pollution, 28% have shared that they get affected very much, 42% have shared that they only get affected a little and 8% have shared about the effect to be insignificant.

  • 28% of the respondents face difficulty in breathing due to the poor quality of air, 20% needs to take greater care of their skin, 17% needs more effort to stay healthy, 16% feels depressed, 9% needs to avoid outdoor activities and 10% finds other effects in their lives.
Children falling ill

Children falling ill

50% of the respondents have shared that air quality affects children's respiratory health seriously and 27% thinks that it affects to a certain extent. 50% respondents have observed that there is a positive correlation between children's illnesses and poor air quality in delhi. 89% of the respondents are not aware about the air pollution monitors installed in their area.

Major sources of pollution

Major sources of pollution

  • 32% of the respondents have shared that the one of the main sources of air pollution is construction. 29% have shared that it is the Air Conditioners and Motor Vehicles which are contributing the most to the air pollution in Delhi.
  • 40% of the respondents have shared that it could be power plants, waste disposal, population growth, industrial sources/manufacturing facilities burning of waste or household cooking and heating.
Diesel generators are still the culprits

Diesel generators are still the culprits

Diesel generators to be banned in Delhi as air pollution level has reached the ‘Very Poor' level as the presence of PM2.5 or PM10 concentration in air is between 121-250µg/m3 or 351-430 µg/m3 respectively. The other measures listed to be adopted when the air quality level dips to the ‘Very Poor' level are :

Enhancement of parking fee by 3-4 times. ⎯ Increase of bus and metro services by augmenting contract buses and increasing frequency of service. ⎯ Stop use of coal or firewood in hotels and open eateries. ⎯ Resident welfare associations and individual house owners to provide electric heaters during winter to security staff to avoid open burning by them.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) are the agencies responsible for keeping tabs on air quality.

What MCD says in RTI

What MCD says in RTI

NDMC carried out inspections and impose environmental compensations charges to polluting construction sites in North and South Delhi. Plantation of 34,510 in north 30,000 in south number of plants had been accomplished during this period.

Water sprinkling on road site in the jurisdiction of horticulture department NDMC. 10 nos mechanical sweepers has been deployed for sweeping of roads in North Delhi.

1119 in north and 156 in south garbage burning challans has been issued in order to stop waste burning. Conducted awareness campaign for garbage / municipal solid waste burning.

Out of 21 questions on the action undertaken to control air pollution during Oct.2017 to March 2018. EDMC replied for 9 questions and rest question remained unanswered/not related to department.

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