Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai Thursday launched a war room to monitor air pollution levels in real-time and stubble burning in neighbouring states. A 10-member expert team will operate from the war room under two senior scientists of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).
Speaking at the Delhi Secretariat, Rai said the room is equipped with high-end technology and has three large screens on which concentrations of different pollutants, the status of 13 air pollution hotspots in Delhi, and satellite images from NASA and ISRO of stubble burning will be monitored in real-time.
He said, “We will also monitor complaints filed by the people through the Green Delhi application, which the Chief Minister will launch in the coming days. We will monitor the complaints and implement strict action. We will also monitor road sweeping and water sprinkling work done by the MCDs through GPS. Daily reports will be sent to the CM, myself, and the Environment Secretary.”
At the launch, officials informed the minister that the air quality of Delhi at the time was in the ‘poor’ category, and that it will worsen with a rise in the concentration of particulate matter of 2.5 micrometres (PM 2.5) from stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana.
The 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of Delhi was ‘poor’ for a second consecutive day on Thursday with a reading of 208, as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). On Wednesday, the AQI was 215.
The concentration of PM 2.5, emitted through combustion activities, was 89.6 micrograms per cubic metre air (µg/m3) as of 5 pm in Delhi-NCR. Concentration of PM 10, comprising dust and smoke, was 224.3 µg/m3.
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