As politicians engage in the blame game over hazardous air pollution in Delhi, millions struggle with hacking coughs and burning eyes. With Delhi continues to be covered in a grey haze, latest predictions show that the situation in the next few days is going to be better, but only slightly.
According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), government data shows that the smog that enveloped the city midweek was the worst in the last 17 years. The concentration of PM 2.5, tiny particulate pollution that can clog lungs, averaged close to 500 micrograms per cubic meter.
In comparison to Delhi, Mumbai fares much better. With moderate air quality and particulate matter averaged close to 140 micrograms per cubic meter. The best air quality, according to statistics put out by SAFAR, was discovered in Pune. Particulate matter in the city was found out be below 100 micrograms per cubic meter.
Even as doctors have asked people in Delhi to stay indoors during the worst days, many of the problems that turn Delhi’s air so toxic continue unabated. People still set off massive amounts of festival fireworks, piles of garbage burn all night and dust from the construction projects that dot the city is unchecked. And at the start of every winter, farmers in the states bordering the city begin burning straw from their rice paddy crop to clear the fields for planting wheat.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday asked Centre to intervene to mitigate the alarming levels of smog. He said that vehicle restriction measures like odd-even will not be able to bring down smog as initial studies suggest that the “large scale” influx of pollutant-laden smoke from Punjab and Haryana has aggravated the situation.