On Wednesday, Toxic air swallow up Delhi, a day after educational institutions in the national capital and nearby cities were shut uncertainly and construction work was banned.
According to the state-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), Delhi’s AQI was 379 categorized as ‘very poor’ at 8 am. Readings below 50 are termed as safe, and above 300 is considered as hazardous or ‘severe’.
On November 4, Delhi’s AQI levels became worse after people violated a ban on bursting firecrackers in Diwali while the pollution compounded due to an increase in stubble burning by farmers in nearby areas of Delhi.
The Commission on Air Quality Management on Tuesday said, ban on construction work and offline classes in Delhi was extended to all cities in the NCR, and trucks carrying non-essential supplies will not be allowed to enter Delhi. They asked the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh to allow 50 percent of their employees to work from home till November 21 and also advised private offices to follow the same.
Across Delhi NCR, construction activities, demolition projects, with exceptions for railway services/stations, metro operations, airports and bus terminals, national security, or defense-related activities and projects, have been banned till November 21.
IQAir, a website that tracks air pollution worldwide said Delhi was the second most polluted city on the planet with an AQI of 287. Kolkata and Mumbai were other Indian cities on the website’s list of top 10.
According to U.K.-based non-profit Clean Air Fund and the Confederation of Indian Industry, Bloomberg report, air pollution costs Indian businesses $95 billion or roughly 3 percent of its GDP every year.
The Centre told the Apex Court that its panel held discussions with Delhi and other concerned states in northern India to address the issue of pollution and has suggested steps to take in this regard.
Source: Business Standard, India Today.