Toxic air thickens over Delhi breaching 900 mark on AQI Scale

The air quality in New Delhi continues to worsen with the Air Quality Index in Punjabi Bagh and Narela areas breaching the 999 mark at 6am on Sunday.

The air quality index (AQI) at other areas too didn’t show a positive sign. In air quality monitors installed by government showed the AQI in Bawana was 999 at 7am, 967 in Rohini, 947 in Pusa, 943 in ITI Pusa and 930 in Pusa and near Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

This comes even as the stubble burning in neighbouring states reduced by 44 percent.

With increase in wind speed to 20-25 kilometres per hour for a couple of days the situation is likely to improve, weather experts said. Scattered rainfall in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi on November 7 and November 8 is also expected to wash away pollutants.

Meanwhile, the  chief ministers of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana on Saturday called for urgent intervention from the union government to develop and implement a joint plan for a “permanent” solution to the problem.

Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar of postponing meetings with state environment ministers thrice, on September 12, October 17 and on October 19, saying either he has no time.

He also accused the central government for going slow on the project for building of 63,000 machines to stop stubble burning, at the current pace it might take 50-60 years to implement the programme, Manish claimed.

Over 22,000 cases of stubble burning had been witnessed in Punjab and more than 4,200 incidents in Haryana in the over the past few days.

On Friday, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority declared the public health emergency, following which the Delhi government decided to shut all schools. The EPCA also banned construction activities in Delhi-NCR till November 5.

The authorities arrested 38 people for carrying out construction activities despite the ban. Four challans of Rs 5 lakh each was issued to construction companies involved in the ongoing development work in Pragati Maidan.

The odd-even vehicle rationing scheme is also set to kick off from November 4 with even private CNG vehicles not exempt this time. Cab aggregators Ola and Uber have deactivated surge-pricing for the 12-day duration of odd-even. Two-wheelers that form around 88 per cent of total registered vehicles on the city roads are exempt.

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