NCR Trapped In Toxic Smog, Flights Delayed Due To Poor Visibility


Pollution levels in Delhi continued to remain in “severe category”.

New Delhi: 

Air pollution levels in the national capital plummeted to hazardous category with pollution level measuring at 625 at 10 in the morning – the first time in this season. Delhi is implementing the odd-even rule for the third time from tomorrow.

The air quality in the national capital continued to worsen with Punjabi Bagh and Narela areas breaching the 999 mark on Air Quality Index. Pollution levels at ITI Shahdara near the Jhilmil Industrial Area in East Delhi remained the worst, measuring 889 at 9 am, while RK Puram recorded 749 on Air Quality Index. The quality of air near the US Embassy was reported to be hazardous.

The pollution levels in neighboring areas of Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Faridabad also recorded between severe to hazardous readings with PMs ranging from 400 to 709.

The poor visibility has affected flight operations at the Delhi airport.

On Friday the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) declared a public health emergency across the National Capital Region after pollution levels entered into “emergency” category for the first time since January. Shut in Delhi, which opened after Diwali, have been shut till Tuesday to minimise exposure of children to pollution. 

Delhi air quality plummeted post-Diwali, which Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said was the “lowest in five years”. Mr Kejriwal has urged the centre to address the matter, saying air pollution “is a North India issue” and therefore requires a North India solution under the “chairmanship” of the Union Minister.

Mr Kejriwal recently asked students to write a letter to his Punjab and Haryana counterparts over pollution caused due to stubble burning, starting a blame game between his government and neighbouring states. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar was also dragged into the matter with Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accusing him of postponing meetings with state environment ministers despite the urgency of the situation.

On Saturday, the governments of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana called for urgent intervention by the Centre to develop and implement a joint plan with the states to address the “serious” situation.

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