New Delhi: As the air quality of the national capital and regions around it deteriorated severely, a pollution task force-headed by the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) has suggested certain restrictions and checks across Delhi-NCR between November 1 and 10 to Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).
It has asked people to cut down the use of private cars, minismise their exposure to the toxic air and avoid strenuous exercises. On the basis of these recommendations, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority is likely to take a call and pass an order on Saturday.
Delhi and nearby states have already been reeling under ‘very poor’ air quality over the past three days and conditions are likely to deteriorate further. Environmentalists believe that pollution is expected to spike around Diwali due to unfavourable winds set to change around Diwali to westerly and north-westerly coming from Punjab and Haryana where stubble-burning has been intensified.
To curb pollution levels around Diwali, the Supreme Court on Tuesday only allowed the use of “less-polluting” firecrackers. The apex court said that bursting of firecrackers on Diwali and any other festivals would strictly be from 8 PM till 10 PM only. It, however, carved out an exception for Christmas and New Year eve and said that crackers for these occasions would be burst between 11.55 PM and 12.30 AM, since these celebrations start at midnight.
In November 2016, Delhi’s air quality had plunged, as the toxic smoke of the Diwali fireworks and the hostile weather conditions, trapped the pollutants, which in turn shrouded the city, severely affecting even visibility.
Anurag Agarwal, a scientist with the Delhi-based CSIR- Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology had said that the situation could very well have been like Londons Great Smog of 1952, which had caused at least 4,000 deaths.