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Delhi struggles to breathe as air quality continues to stay ‘severe’. 10 points


Even before the arrival of winter, Delhi’s air pollution has turned the national capital region into a gas chamber. Surveys and indices are not needed anymore as itchy eyes, breathlessness and low visibility in the morning are stark indicators of the sharply deteriorating air quality in Delhi. Delhi. Due to the severely poor air quality in Delhi, schools have been shut and half of government employees have been ordered to work from home.

In most of the places in Delhi, air quality continues to remain in the ‘severe’ category on Friday. The air quality index remained above 470 at many places in the capital region. The current level of air pollution is more than 10 times the global safety threshold, according to the state-run Central Pollution Control Board. To bring down the pollution to make Delhi’s air breathable, the Delhi government has implemented several measures and is mulling taking some more stringent actions in the coming days.

Here are all the ten points you need to know about Delhi air pollution

-Work-from-home to 50 per cent govt employees: Delhi government on Friday has also announced to allow 50 percent of government employees to work from home as the air quality in the region continues to stay at hazardous levels. Delhi CM along with Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann addressed the media and informed them about their action plan to deal with pollution, on Friday.

-Closure of schools: To safeguard the vulnerable section of the population, Delhi government has announced the closure of schools from Saturday. The Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, has announced that from Saturday onwards, classes up to fifth standard will remain shut. Moreover, outdoor activities for classes above fifth standard will be stopped.

-Online Classes: To ensure that children remain indoors during high pollution levels, Noida district officials have ordered schools to conduct online classes for students up to eighth grade. It is worth noting that the decision has been taken after parents and environmentalists appealed on social media to begin online classes and shut schools down due to severe pollution.

-Apex court to hear plea on Delhi air pollution: Supreme Court on Friday nodded to hear a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) regarding the issuance of new guidelines on stubble burning to curb rampant air pollution in Delhi and the national capital region(NCR). The bench consisting of Chief Justice UU Lalit, and Justice Bela M Trivedi gave decision on the PIL filed by lawyer Shashank Shekhar Jha.

-NHRC summons top officials of Delhi-NCR, Punjab, Haryana and UP: As there is no respite from pollution in the northern region, National Human Rights Commission has summoned chief secretaries of Delhi and the national capital region, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to appear before it on 10 November to discuss the matter, reported PTI. According to the report, NHRC is not “satisfied” with the actions taken by the governments till now in dealing with pollution.

– Rise in sales of air purifiers: As Delhi is turning into gas chamber despite several actions taken by the government, more people are opting for air purifiers to save themselves from the side effects of air pollution. Demand for air purifiers surged in the capital, specifically after Diwali celebrations, reported PTI. Once a luxury, air purifiers are now even being suggested by doctors to patients.

– Ban on diesel trucks: In the wake of rising air pollution in Delhi, the federal pollution control board on Thursday restricted the entry of diesel trucks carrying non-essential goods in the capital. The order was issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) to recommend the restriction of diesel vehicles under stage four of the Graded Response Action Plan(GRAP). Under this plan, whenever the air quality degrades to a severe category, the government can take strict measures like prohibiting diesel-run trucks, and cars except those carrying essential commodities.

-Ban on construction activities: The Commission for Air Quality Management(CAQM) announced a ban on construction activities in the Delhi-NCR region on 29 October. As the ban will impact thousands of workers engaged in the sector, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has also announced a compensation of 5000 for 10,000 workers.

-Stubble burning: As stubble burning contributes 12 per cent to the air pollution of Delhi, it has become a measure for politicians to mud sling each other. However, no decision or policy has managed to bring down the burning of crop residue in Punjab and Haryana. On Wednesday, Punjab reported 3,634 farm fires, according to PTI. The number remains the highest this season so far. According to the forecasting agency, SAFAR, stubble burning accounted for 32 per cent of the PM2.5 pollution in the capital on Wednesday.

-Odd-even vehicle policy: If the situation continues to remain grave, and the air quality in Delhi doesn’t improve in the next two days, the government may implement the odd-even policy. “We are also mulling over implementing an odd-even scheme for plying of vehicles,” said Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Friday.

(With agency inputs)

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