After the national capital celebrated the Diwali on last Sunday, it greeted the Monday morning with the highest ever levels of pollution, ever recorded in the state. Not only this, the Delhi crossed the ‘Severe Plus’ marks of pollution on the Air Quality Index for the whole week.
The Air Quality Index is the measurement of the quality of Air & presents of pollutants in the air including (PM 2.5 & PM 10). The Index ranges from 0 to 500 points, where 0 means the freshest air & 500 means the most polluted air. Talking about Delhi, in the middle of the post-Diwali week, the air quality of Delhi crossed 500 points mark, making it the worst polluted city on the planet. It is the highest mark, ever recorded on the planet. Not only had this, in some places of NCR, the AQI figures even touched 999 marks. Primarily burning of crackers during Diwali 2019 & Stubble burning for new crop season is responsible for the abnormal escalation in the PM 2.5 levels in the air.
As far as the severity of the situation is concerned, there is a mobile-based application, which suggests the number of cigarettes that you’ve smoked if you live in a particular city. The app uses the AQI data derived from their respective centres in a city/state and then convert it into the number of cigarettes one would smoke if they breathed in the city for a day. The poor air quality index has risen so badly that even those, who are not cigarette smokers, are getting their lungs damaged because of the poor air quality.
The main reason is the presence of PM 2.5 in the air. If the levels of PM 2.5 is 22 μg/m3, it is as good as smoking one cigarette. If we talk about the national capital, a day in Delhi in the past week would have been equal to smoking 38 cigarettes in a single day, which is almost 4 packets of cigarettes a day.
While the city-zens were struggling with pollution, governments were involved in blaming each other for the pollution. While many believed that CM Arvind Kejriwal is responsible for the rising levels of pollution in Delhi NCR, the CM said that Haryana and Punjab’s stubble burning is credible for the rising levels of pollution.
In Ghaziabad, situations are no-less worse.
So isn’t in Noida
And in Gurgaon/Gurugram
However, the AAP government has devised some methods to deal with the situation. These are some of the decisions which followed after the abnormal rise in the pollution figures.
– Many flights have been diverted and/or delayed because of the poor visibility at Delhi airport.
– Gov ernment has ordered a school shut down in the capital and they will remain closed till Tuesday 5th November. This was sought as a safety measure, especially for children after a public health emergency was declared by EPCA on Friday.
– AAP Government has initiated the third edition of the odd-even road space rationing scheme. It incepted from 8 am on Monday. Only even-numbered non-transport vehicles are allowed on Delhi roads for the first day, consecutively to be followed by only odd-numbered vehicles on the 2nd day.
– Arvind Kejriwal government continues to take measures to tackle the severe air pollution such as sprinkling water on roads to settle the dust.
– The Centre also reviewed the situation with the governments of Delhi, Haryana and Punjab and announced that the cabinet secretary would monitor it daily.
Although the air quality has improved a week because of the efforts of the citizens and government in this direction, still, the level of severity is very high.
These are the figures from November’s first Monday morning. Even till today, a single day in Delhi is as good as smoking 22 cigarettes.
Even on Sunday, the average Air Quality in Delhi stood at 625 points. It even ranged from 700 to 800 points in some places. This has not only made the air unbreathable but is also causing problems including visibility issues, irritation in eyes, coughing and much more.
However, Delhi NCR is not the only place in the country with severe air quality. If you live in the below-listed cities, then there is a good chance that you are already smoking more than 4 cigarettes a day, just by breathing the air in your city.
The name of the app is ‘Shit I Smoke’. It is available on the Apple Store as well as Google Play Store.
Author: Keshav Kothari
A young CA Aspirant who is a writer and a photographer with the zeal to convey a positive perception through his work.