Published: Fri, December 28, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Pollution woes: All construction in hotspot areas in Delhi banned till Wednesday

Pollution woes: All construction in hotspot areas in Delhi banned till Wednesday

In view of the city's "severe" air quality, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) on Monday banned industrial activities in pollution hot spots and construction work across Delhi-NCR till Wednesday.

The Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) also showed an AQI (Air Quality Index) of 468 for Delhi. On December 23, 2019, the Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded the second highest pollution level this year with an AQI of 450, which is considered "severe", a level below "hazardous".

Moreover, if the temperature keeps on dipping like this, the Delhi-NCR regions could see pollutants in the air souring.

The data also found that "the air quality is severe and prominent pollutants are PM 2.5 and PM 10". Of the 67 cities where the air quality was monitored, 17, including Patna, recorded "very poor" air quality.

Air pollution was "severe" for the fourth consecutive day, the daytime temperature fell to its lowest this season, and heavy fog disrupted at least 200 flights in and out of the national capital on Tuesday, even as weather officials predicted winter will get tougher in the coming week.

"Whenever Delhi's air quality deteriorates, we see a rise in the number of patients visiting OPDs or cases of emergency admission with respiratory or cardiac related problems". The other directions are: agencies concerned to increase surveillance to find industrial waste dumping or burning especially in hotspots that are vulnerable to high pollution level, water sprinkling and mechanised sweeping to be intensified and traffic police to ensure smooth flow of traffic, including during long holidays.

Winter storm heading east, could snarl travel
Homeowners also need to be safe if using space heaters, including not leaving them unattended or having them on while sleeping. There could be a risk of ice forming for those in the advisory area as the storm rotates around and temperatures drop.

"The situation might improve slightly but is likely to continue in severe category until afternoon of Dec.26, when wind speeds will pick up and improve dispersion of pollutants", said a task force headed by the CPCB.

According to the CPCB, he said, the Air Quality Index (AQI) was 446 on Sunday, whereas according to SAFAR the AQI was recorded at 471.

Officials said they are closely monitoring the situation and if these conditions persist for 48 hours, then stringent action would be taken.

Senior officials predicted the severe pollution would last another three days due to unusually stagnant and cold air.

The air quality index value on Tuesday was recorded at 403, down from 448 on Monday.

The visibility at 8.30 a.m. was 500 metres and the humidity was at 94 per cent - a condition not favourable for dispersal of pollutants. "The AQI will go back to the very poor category by tonight for the next three days", it had said.

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