New Delhi: Indian capital Delhi has become a sort of gas chamber. Everyone is complaining about the deteriorating air quality in the capital that has gone from bad to worse with reports suggesting that the air quality has worsened fifteen times than the normal limit.
Earlier today, seeing the seriousness of the issue, Delhi government announced three day holidays in Delhi schools in Delhi and NCR. While Delhi schools have already complied with the directive, schools in Noida and other locations in the NCR are yet to comply with the order.
Meanwhile Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also banned construction and demolition work for five days and the use of diesel-run generator sets for 10 days in a desperate bid to control a crisis that has choked Delhi. The school closure is aimed at preventing children from getting affected by the dangerous pollution levels which have forced people to use surgical masks while travelling in the city. But Kejriwal maintained that this was a larger problem involving neighbouring states, where farmers are said to be burning crop stubble in a wide area, and sought the central government’s intervention.
While talking on the issue Kejriwal said, “This is the time to set aside politics and find a solution (to the problem)…The base level of pollution was already very high. We have consulted experts and we are taking some emergency measures”. Kejriwal said the coal-based thermal power plant at Badarpur in south Delhi, which generates fly ash, would be shut for 10 days. Water would be sprinkled on the fly ash scattered within the plant. Water would also be sprinkled on the city’s roads on a large scale and vacuum cleaning would begin from November 10 in all 100-foot broad roads maintained by the Public Works Department (PWD), he added.
In the meantime with high levels of PM 2.5, Delhi’s pollution crisis continues to be classified as “severe”, with a blanket of smog covering the entire city as well as neighbouring states. Delhi’s pollution levels worsened after Diwali on October 30. The dismal air quality has been attributed to low wind speed and high humidity which has blocked dispersal of pollutants. A private weather forecaster however said residents may find respite by Tuesday as strong winds are expected here in next 24-48 hours, which will improve the air quality.
There are hopes that pollution will subside in the coming days. Skymet Director Mahesh Palawat said strong winds from Punjab and Haryana will push the pollution away, adding air quality will improve further if strong winds continue for several more days, due to change in pressure in the Bay of Bengal. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister announced that in order to do away with the dependence on generator sets, electricity connections would be given to whoever asks for them. Hospitals and emergency services can, however, use generator sets. He announced a strict enforcement of the ban on burning of trash and dry leaves, saying residents who see violations can report to the government on an app to be unveiled on Monday.