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Delhi’s air quality improves from ‘severe-plus’ to ‘severe’

According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), air quality index (AQI) dropped from 708 (severe-plus emergency category) at 8 am to 467 (severe) at 4.30 in the evening. 

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After days of rising levels of pollution post-Diwali, Delhi’s air quality showed significant improvement on Monday. According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), air quality index (AQI) dropped from 708 (severe-plus emergency category) at 8 am to 467 (severe) at 4.30 in the evening.

The decrease in pollution levels has been recorded on a day on which the national capital kicked off its odd-even scheme, a vehicle rationing system meant to curb the number of cars plying on the streets. Under odd-even, private vehicles with number plates ending with odd and even numbers will be allowed on roads on alternate days. Those ending with 0,2,4,6,8 are allowed to ply on the capital’s roads today. It will be in effect in Delhi from November 4 to November 15, from 8 am to 8 pm, except on Sundays.

Although the AAP government has been using this odd-even scheme to put a check on vehicular pollution since 2016, the measure has been widely criticised by the Opposition. BJP MP Vijay Goel said the Aam Aadmi Party government had spent Rs 20 crore on the scheme last year, and this time, the amount has touched almost Rs 35 crore.

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The Supreme Court, too, criticised the government over the implementation of the scheme. Justice Arun Mishra said, “Cars create less pollution. What are you (Delhi) getting from this odd-even? Banning diesel vehicles we can understand, but what is the point of odd-even scheme?”

After Delhi’s air quality touched ‘severe-plus emergency’ category on Sunday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to people to follow the odd-even scheme: “We are implementing it from tomorrow from 8 am-8 pm. I request you all to follow the rules… I, and Delhi Cabinet ministers, will also follow them.” Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot briefed civil defence volunteers, who will be deployed across the city for the scheme. The health ministry also issued advisory urging residents to reschedule outdoor activities and use certified N95 masks.

First published on: 04-11-2019 at 05:23:11 pm
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