EMERGENCY! This Time, It’s The Public Health

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EMERGENCY! This Time, It's The Public Health

The capital city is once again alarmed by the pollution level running riots. The Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) declared a public health emergency in Delhi NCR region, on Friday, thereby banning construction activities till 5th November. The authority also banned the bursting of crackers during the winter season.

Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal while distributing pollution masks to school children, described the city as, “Gas Chamber”. EPCA had asked the schools to curtail all sports-related activities till 5th November. The CM, taking a step further tweeted, informing that the schools in Delhi would be closed till 5th November. People have been advised not to exercise in the open till the pollution level decreases.

In a letter to the Chief Secretaries of UP, Haryana, and Delhi the EPCA chairperson Bhusre Lal said, “The air quality of Delhi and NCR has deteriorated further last night and is now at ‘severe plus’ level. We have to take this as public health emergency as it will have adverse health impacts on all, particularly our children.”

“If the air quality persists in the ‘severe plus’ category for more than 48 hours, emergency measures such as odd-even car rationing scheme, banning entry of trucks, construction activities and shutting down schools are taken under the Graded Response Action Pan”, an official said.

The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) at 1 pm on Friday touched a mark of 480, which falls under the “severe category” as the city remains engulfed in a shroud of haze. Bawana, with an AQI of 497, was the most polluted area, followed by DTU (487), Wazirpur(485), Anand Vihar(484) and Vivek Vihar(482). The seasonal crop stubble burning, Diwali crackers, industrial and vehicular pollution are some of the unabated causes making this problem a quotidian in Delhi NCR.

A sanguine hope comes from the analysis by weather experts which says that increased wind speed due to a fresh western disturbance approaching the northern region would help disperse pollutants faster from Saturday. However, rather than depending on these natural happenstances, we have to find out a long-term and pragmatic solution to curtail the mushrooming pollution. This would be advantageous not just for Delhi, but for the world at large, which is trying frantically to beat pollution.

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