Delhi air ‘severe’, all hopes on western disturbance to clear it

PageTurnerExcerpt       How we breathe the cleanest air in one of Delhi’s most polluted office areas
       	        Kamal Meattle and Barun Aggarwal         7 Novem

PageTurnerExcerpt How we breathe the cleanest air in one of Delhi’s most polluted office areas Kamal Meattle and Barun Aggarwal 7 Novem

Early morning ambient air quality readings in Delhi - the world's most polluted major city, according to the World Health Organisation - touched 526, according to the United States embassy in the city which independently monitors pollution levels.

Delhi pollution is also expected to remain severe to very severe for the next two days.

Once the foul air crosses 500, it causes serious aggravation of heart and lung diseases, with doctors advising residents to skip outdoor activity. The national capital is still reeling from the effects of the Diwali firecracker frenzy.

Meanwhile, curbs on pollution in Delhi continued, with the Traffic Police stopping trucks from entering the Capital, on orders of the Transport Department, said sources.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) data, an AQI of "severe plus emergency" means that even healthy people may suffer respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.

Local television news channels said Kejriwal had left the country on a private family trip to Dubai, triggering a backlash on social media and finger pointing on Twitter by the Delhi arm of India's governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to the SAFAR, the moisture in the air on Wednesday was normal, thus reducing the pollution load slightly.

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Earlier on Thursday, the air quality in the national capital also reached the "hazardous" level.

This would have given time to traders to procure licences to sell green firecrackers, Sadar Nishkarm Welfare Association, president, Harjit Singh Chabbra, said.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said that the ultra-fine particles PM 2.5 and PM 10 was 164 and 294 micrograms per cubic metre respectively.

The court had said police should ensure that there was no sale of banned firecrackers and in case of any violation, the Station House Officer of the area police station would be held liable and this would amount to committing contempt of the court.

But despite the order, certain places recorded violations where firecrackers were burnt before and after the set time frame. These included Mayur Vihar Extension, Lajpat Nagar, Lutyens' Delhi, IP Extension, Dwarka and Noida Sector-78.

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