A week after Diwali, air quality in Delhi has plummeted further with no signs of improvement due to the unfavourable weather conditions such as reduced air movement and high humidity. The thick layer toxic smog has put Delhi under its grip and many residents have complained of a burning sensation in their eyes and throat. According to recent data collected from System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the pollution levels are still ‘severe’ with PM 2.5 at 355 and PM 10 at 482. According to the body, the forecast for the next three days is still expected to be ‘poor’. Meanwhile, the sale of gas masks and air purifiers has seen a massive bump.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who described the city as a “toxic gas chamber”, called for a cabinet meeting on Sunday afternoon to discuss the issue. Delhi cabinet minister Satyendra Jain, in an interview to ANI, said that the crop burning in nearby states is the main contributor of the pollution, while many are blaming the burning of crackers during the festive season.
Given the deteriorating situation in Delhi, health experts are suggesting the government to put a stop to all the construction activity in the city till the ’emergency’ situation is resolved. According to experts, apart from construction, factories and industries operating in residential and unauthorised areas, without any certification of clearance on pollution, must be shut down so that the civilians in the nearby region are not harmed by possible harmful effluents. The experts are also suggesting shutting down of power plants in the city.
To ensure that vehicles plying in the city do not cause traffic jams, the experts are suggesting that both private and government offices and schools must be directed to stagger their working hours and government should introduce a vehicle restriction program in the city as soon as possible. According to them, the citizens should also be provided with a detailed health advisory with strict dos and don’ts.