Delhi air quality stays severe for fifth consecutive day

Air quality in New Delhi has continued to deteriorate and is in the ‘severe’ category for the fifth consecutive day, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). According to the System for Air Quality Forecasting and Research in India (SAFAR-India), the capital’s Air Quality Index (AQI) has risen to 488 from 410 a day ago.

Expressing concern over the escalating pollution levels, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai has called a meeting of all concerned departments to discuss and implement stricter measures to curb air pollution. The meeting focused on the strict implementation of GRAP-4, a set of contingency measures designed to tackle severe air pollution incidents.

On Sunday, the Council for Air Quality Management (CAQM) launched the Stage IV Graduated Response Action Plan (GRAP) across the National Capital Region (NCR) with immediate effect to prevent further deterioration of air quality. The Phase IV restrictions build on the Phase I-III Graduated Response Action Plan (GRAP).

The key measures under GRAP Phase IV include

Prohibition of trucks from entering Delhi (except trucks carrying essential goods/providing essential services and all LNG/CNG/Electric trucks).

Delhi air quality stays severe for fifth consecutive day

Ban on operation of Delhi registered diesel Medium Goods Vehicles (MGVs) and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) in Delhi except vehicles carrying essential goods/providing essential services.

The NCR state government and GNCTD may decide to discontinue the physical classes of VI-IX and XI classes in favor of online mode of teaching.

Medical experts have warned that the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi has far exceeded the upper limit of 50 recommended for a healthy person, posing a great threat to health, especially for those suffering from lung-related diseases. The alarming AQI increases the risk of lung cancer.

Straw burning in neighboring states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab is considered to be the main cause of air pollution in Delhi. Meanwhile, a similar situation has been witnessed in Bhatinda in Punjab, where the AQI has reached 215, which is in the “very poor” category.

Expressing concern over the situation, local residents urged the government to take immediate action to prevent straw burning and curb the deterioration of air quality in the area. Don’t allow farmers to burn straw, the smoke can have serious impact on people’s health,” they appealed.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) emphasized the need for immediate action to prevent and control air pollution in these cities to ensure improved air quality for residents.

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