Toxic smog turns Delhi into a gas chamber
Every year, the national capital region, Delhi NCR, becomes a virtual gas chamber as the nation prepares for the holiday season and year-end celebrations. The citizens of the capital and the surrounding areas suffer greatly as a result of the skyrocketing levels of air pollution. There has been a lot of talk and action about Delhi’s fog and the sharp rise in particle matter, especially from October to December, but it’s crucial to comprehend the causes and take precautions.
Authorities in India increased their efforts on Friday to address the worsening air quality as people in the Delhi metropolitan area were choked by a thick layer of haze and pollution caused by farmers burning crop waste and quieter winter winds. Due to the air pollution caused by harmful fine particles, officials in Delhi ordered the closure of factories, construction sites, and elementary schools, and they also encouraged people to work from home.
Also Read This: Pollution on Rice Straw Burning
According to the state-run Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi’s 24-hour average air quality index (AQI), which gauges the amount of very small particles known as PM2.5 in the air — particularly dangerous pollutants since they’re easily breathed and can settle deep in the lungs — crossed 470 on Friday.
According to the worldwide Air Quality Index (AQI), anything above 300 is considered “hazardous,” and at “severe” levels, air pollution “affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases.” Many areas of Delhi saw an AQI of more than 600 on Friday. In an effort to reduce the smog, authorities also prohibited the use of diesel-powered automobiles and dispatched trucks fitted with water sprinklers and anti-smog weapons.
The National Capital’s air quality index plummeted into “severe” days ahead of Diwali, prompting the declaration of an air emergency on Thursday. Due to the increasing levels of pollution in the city, all government and elementary schools in Delhi will be closed on Friday and Saturday, according to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The Delhi government outlawed the use of BS-3 gasoline and BS-4 diesel vehicles in Delhi Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, and Gautam Budh Nagar, as well as non-essential construction operations. With the Lodhi Road area at 438, Jahangirpuri at 491, the R K Puram area at 486, and the area surrounding IGI Airport (T3) at 473, Delhi’s overall AQI on Friday morning fell into the “severe” category.
November 1 to November 15 is when Delhi’s air pollution peaks due to an increase in farmers from Punjab and Haryana burning their stubble. According to a study by the Commission for Air Quality Management, there has been a notable increase in stubble-burning incidences in the recent few days, although incidents in both Punjab and Haryana have decreased since September 15.
Air quality across Delhi deteriorates to Severe category as per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).— ANI (@ANI) November 3, 2023
AQI in Lodhi Road area at 438, in Jahangirpuri at 491, in RK Puram area at 486 and around IGI Airport (T3) 473 pic.twitter.com/EXV0Pq3Rnl
Primary schools have been forced to close by the authorities due to extreme pollution levels. Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, declared, “All government and private primary schools in Delhi will remain closed for the next two days due to the rising pollution levels.”
In Gurugram, Section 144 has been triggered due to the deteriorating air quality index. Beginning on Friday, GRAP III limitations also apply to Noida and Greater Noida. Delhi Metro is urging people to use the metro instead of driving their automobiles, therefore they will be operating 20 extra trains.
Under GRAP III, the following activities are also prohibited in Delhi: demolition work; loading and unloading construction materials into and out of project sites; manual or conveyor belt-based raw material transfers, including fly ash; driving on unpaved roads; operating batching plants; installing sewage and water lines; installing drainage systems; installing electric cabling via open trench systems; cutting and repairing tiles, stones, and other flooring materials; waterproofing; painting, polishing, and varnishing; and road construction and repair, which includes paving sidewalks, pathways, and central verges, among other things.
How to protect yourself
- Avoid going out and indulging in outdoor activities particularly when the AQI levels are very high.
- Avoid smoking and burning garbage or leaves from your garden.
- Use an indoor air purifier wherever possible.
- Always use a 3M N95 anti-pollution face mask when outdoors.
- Avoid areas where a lot of construction work is being undertaken. Avoid arterial roads with heavy traffic when possible.
- Consume a healthy diet rich in Vitamin C, Omega fatty acids, and minerals. These contain antioxidants that help in boosting immunity.