Delhi air pollution: No relief from thick smog as AQI hovers around 500-mark on the last day of odd-even rule

Even after 2 weeks of odd-even scheme implemented, 3 weeks since Diwali and 2 weeks since crop burning have been banned in the state, Delhi’s air quality is showing no significant sign of improvement and the AQI figures are still above 500 marks, making it the most polluted place on the planet.

The national capital region of Delhi has been experiencing the worst air quality of all times and there are three main reasons behind the same. One is the emissions coming from vehicles and industries in the state, 2nd reason is the uncontrolled burning of firecrackers during the Diwali festival and third and the most significant one right now is stubble burning (crop burning) taking place in Delhi NCR and the neighbouring states.

The government organisations have declared a public health emergency in the state as the air becomes unbreathable. Amidst the disastrous situations in the NCR, Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government is unable to decide on whether to extend the Odd-Even road rationing scheme for a shorter period.

As per the figures generated by government’s air quality information service SAFAR, currently, Delhi’s air is at 482 marks on the Air Quality Index, with PM10 at 504 and PM2.5 at 332. This is classified as ‘Severe’ air quality.

While there was a brief period of relief last week, the noxious haze continues to reel. Residents seem to have no relief from the increasingly poor air quality and continue to struggle for fresh air for the fourth successive day (Friday) of thick smog and deteriorating Delhi’s air quality.

Many children from the state have written exorbitant letters to PM Modi, requesting him to take appropriate steps to improve the air quality in Delhi.

Apart from this, the weekend is not expected to be any better. As per the weather forecasters made by respective organisations, there will be a similar situation because of the impact of a western disturbance which is the primary cause of the dense cloud cover and a drop in wind speed.

In areas such as Mathura Road in Delhi, the AQI was registered at 524 (PM10) at 6.07 am on Friday, it was 505 (PM10) at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, whereas Chandni Chowk recorded an AQI of 478 (PM10) and 475 (PM2.5).

The adjoining areas such as Noida registered an AQI of 583 at 6.07 am on Friday. Ghaziabad which is considered as India’s most polluted city recorded an AQI of 456 (PM2.5).

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is receiving a lot of criticism for not being able to decide on whether the Odd-Even scheme should be further extended in Delhi. The scheme which came into effect for the third time in Delhi on 4th November was planned to be in function till Friday.

CM Kejriwal however, earlier said that the government may extend the scheme if needed. “We are thinking of extending the Odd-Even scheme. If needed, we will extend the scheme,” Mr Kejriwal said on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court had issued a notice to the Delhi government after a plea has been filed challenging the odd-even road rationing scheme. The apex court has directed the government to produce figures of pollution in Delhi from October till November 14 this year. The bench has also directed the government to submit pollution data from October 1 to December 31, 2018.

Meanwhile, the schools also remained to shut on Thursday as the deteriorating air quality continued to take its toll on the residents in Delhi and adjoining areas.