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Life-threatening pollution in Delhi-NCR: Odd-even returns, HC issues emergency directives, NGT bans construction

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 09, Nov 2017, 16:59 pm IST | UPDATED: 09, Nov 2017, 17:37 pm IST

Life-threatening pollution in Delhi-NCR: Odd-even returns, HC issues emergency directives, NGT bans construction New Delhi: Air pollution levels in the national capital continued to be ‘severe’ as dense smog engulfed the city, leading to delays in flight and train services. Here's what is happening on ground today.

The Delhi government has brought back odd-even plan to check rising pollution level in the capital. It will be implemented from Nov 13 and will end on Nov 17.

NGT has banned construction and industrial activities in Delhi-NCR till November 14 .

The NGT has also directed directs civic bodies to constitute teams to ensure there is no burning of waste in Delhi-NCR. The green panel has also asked authorities to implement EPCA's directions to improve ambient air quality.

It has also directed sprinkling of water where PM 10 is found to be in excess of 600 micrograms per cubic metre.

Earlier in the day, the NGT slammed Delhi government, blaming it for the current situation. "You've made a mess of Delhi. You have done what you had to, now we will decide what you have to do. Why didn’t you issue any direction for shutting down polluting industries and construction. You did it yesterday as we told you to do so. Go to the hospital see number of patients that are being admitted," it said.

The NHRC has sent notices to Centre, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana govts on "life-threatening" pollution in Delhi-NCR

Despite clampdown, stubble burning in Haryana continues adding to Delhi's worsening pollution levels.

The smog delayed 41 trains in Delhi , rescheduled 9 and 10 were cancelled.

HC ISSUES EMERGENCY DIRECTIONS TO CURB KILLER FOG IN DELHI

Calling it an "emergency situation", a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sanjeev Sachdeva asked the government to consider the option of "cloud seeding" to induce rainfall artificially, as an immediate step to bring down the dust and particulate matter in the atmosphere.

It directed the Delhi government to seriously consider a ban on further construction in the city to the extent possible and implementing the 'odd-even' vehicle usage scheme as a short term measure.

"What we are facing today has already been faced by London. They call it a pea soup fog. It is a killer. Stubble burning is the visible villain in it, but there are other elephants in the room," the bench said. Read all about it

STORY SO FAR

Delhi and Punjab governments announced complete closure of schools till Sunday following weather forecasts that situation is unlikely to improve soon with very dense fog expected to cover many places in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh

and north Rajasthan in the morning hours till November 10. People rushed to buy masks to save themselves from the toxic smog as level of particulate matter 2.5 over Delhi touched 517 microgram per cubic metre, which is more than ten times the safe level.

The air quality was equally bad in bigger National Capital Region, and it’s forecast to worsen on Thursday. “The situation can become worse and conditions deteriorate as we are in accumulation phase of dust particle due to no winds in the region,” said D Saha, head air quality, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). “Things may improve by Saturday,” he said.

Meanwhile, smog and second day of closure of one of the runways at Delhi airport continued to impact operations at Delhi airport, which saw flights operating with delays of up to 2 hours impacting the plans of many fliers. Over 250 flights were delayed at Delhi airport, causing spillover delays across the country.

Delhi smog live updates: Odd-even returns in Delhi, HC issues emergency directives

SPIKE IN AIR PURIFIER SALES

Air purifiers manufacturers are witnessing a spike in sales in the Capital and adjoining areas as consumers resort to panic buying with air pollution in Delhi-NCR breaching critical limit. Companies like Xiaomi, Eureka Forbes, Blue Air, Panasonic India, Honeywell and Sharp said they have witnessed multi-fold jump in demand for air purifiers in the last couple of days.

Air purifiers from different brands are available at a price range of Rs 9,000 to Rs 36,000 depending on power and features.

MORE METRO TRAINS

The metro and Delhi Transport Corporation announced decisions to augment services by pressing more trains and buses into service, in a bid to reduce dependence on private vehicles.

Delhi lieutenant governor Anil Baijal on Wednesday banned entry of trucks into the capital until further instructions.

Trucks carrying essential commodities like food items have been exempted. He has also instructed civic bodies and the Delhi Metro to hike parking fees, as directed by the Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) to dissuade use of personal cars. The three civic bodies are yet to implement parking fee hike, but Delhi Metro has decided to increase train capacity by carrying out 186 additional trips from Thursday.

NO RESPITE TILL WEEKEND

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), which tracks air quality of different cities in India, strong winds blowing at 15 to 20 km per hour at a height from ground have been bringing external pollutants from Punjab and Haryana into Delhi. With high humidity of 90% and low wind speed, pollutants are getting trapped. SAFAR has forecast increase in the concentration of fine particles of pollutants on Thursday.

Madhavan Rajeevan, secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, tweeted: “Delhi smog is not localised as seen in satellite image. Stable atmospheric and wind conditions favour severe pollution. Stable conditions are likely to continue next 2-3 days, which can trap smog close to surface. Weather only a modulator, source however man made. Take care.”

CHECK STUBBLE BURNING

Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan called on the neighbouring states to check stubble burning. "I call for cost effective measures since management of air pollution requires sustained actions over a long period of time to be effective. I'd also like to request the state governments of Punjab, Haryana and UP to implement the ban related to stubble burning," he tweeted.
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