New Delhi’s air qual­ity de­te­ri­o­rates to ‘un­healthy’

Gulf Times - - INDIA -

The air qual­ity in New Delhi plum­meted to an “un­healthy” level yes­ter­day as farm­ers burned post-har­vest roots and plant de­bris on their fields out­side the cap­i­tal.

The city’s al­ready poor air qual­ity wors­ens every year as farm­ers in neigh­bour­ing Pun­jab and Haryana states burn crop residue in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber to pre­pare for the next grow­ing sea­son.

The early morn­ing sun was hid­den in a haze and air qual­ity was recorded as “very poor” at sev­eral lo­ca­tions mon­i­tored by the Min­istry of Earth Sciences.

The lev­els of sus­pended par­ti­cles smaller than 2.5 mi­crome­tres – a size con­sid­ered ex­tremely fine that can pen­e­trate and dam­age lung tis­sue – were recorded at lev­els up to 12 times the limit deemed safe by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Air pol­lu­tion con­trol strate­gist Parthaa Bosu wrote on Twit­ter that pol­lu­tion lev­els were eight times above the city’s stan­dard level and cau­tioned res­i­dents to stay in­doors, avoid ex­er­cise and mon­i­tor chil­dren and se­nior.

Peo­ple on their morn­ing walks could be seen wear­ing masks. By late af­ter­noon, the Air Qual­ity In­dex in parts of eastern Delhi shot up to the “very se­vere” cat­e­gory.

Heart Care Foun­da­tion, a non-profit work­ing in the area of health, has called for post­pon­ing Delhi’s half marathon, sched­uled for Oc­to­ber 21, as the poor air qual­ity posed a risk to run­ners.

Fines were im­posed on 12 farm­ers on Fri­day due to crop residue burn­ing, a state­ment from the Haryana State Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board said.

Haryana has banned the burn­ing of crop residue but farm­ers con­tinue the prac­tice as it is the cheap­est way of clear­ing their fields.

The en­tire state was be­ing mon­i­tored via satel­lite im­agery to spot and con­trol burn­ing.

New Delhi, a city with a pop­u­la­tion of 20mn, has been ranked among the worst-pol­luted cities in the world in re­cent years.

Ve­hic­u­lar and in­dus­try emis­sions, con­struc­tion dust and rub­bish burn­ing are all cited in ad­di­tion to crop burn­ing as rea­sons for high lev­els of pol­lu­tion.

The gov­ern­ment has taken up some ini­tia­tives to com­bat the wors­en­ing air qual­ity, but none of them have proved very suc­cess­ful.

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