Delhi wakes up to hazy Diwali morning, air quality remains 'poor'

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"These measures are pre-emptive and go beyond what is stipulated in the Grap".

Keeping in view the growing menace of air pollution, the Environment Ministry has launched a "Clean Air Week" in the NCR region. Cricketers and footballers who are in Delhi playing top division domestic matches have complained of sickness due to the worsening air quality in the capital.

Fortis Healthcare's Dr. Avi Kumar, consultant Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, said that people using inhalers should keep it handy as crackers (burst at Diwali and after that) emit suspended particles (smoke) and toxins gases that can trigger asthma, cause severe headaches, respiratory diseases and chronic cough.

On October 31, the top court had issued an order stating that only green crackers will be sold in New Delhi and the national capital region (NCR) in the run-up to Diwali, the festival of lights.

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CPCB chairperson S P Singh issued directions for construction agencies and said, "Failure to which will make the defaulting agencies and individuals liable to criminal prosecution which may be initiated by the CPCB under appropriate provision of the law".

During the hearing, the counsel appearing for the Delhi government said that a total of 40 lakh old vehicles in Delhi had been de-registered by the authorities. This is part of the Graded Response Action Plan, which came into effect on Oct 15, to tackle the deteriorating pollution levels in the city.

Numerous patients he sees already bear physical scars from breathing a lifetime of Delhi air. Only public transport will be used.

Shifting the morning assembly of students indoors, mandating them to wear masks during outdoor activities and distributing gooseberries are among the measures taken by schools in Delhi and adjoining areas to deal with the alarming level of air pollution.

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"Ensure that we do not burn garbage and we report all instances of garbage burning and other pollution carefully and responsibly on the CPCB Facebook/Twitter accounts", the EPCA said Wednesday.

Though policy discussions on air pollution control have commenced, the Delhi government has not managed to do anything to address the problem.

"The highest levels of PM10 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres) and PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) are expected between 11 AM to 3 AM on Wednesday and Thursday". On Monday, the index had turned "severe" in Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, and "very poor" in nearby Gurugram and Hapur.

The early onset of winter's cool and foggy weather coupled with pollution created by fireworks during Diwali and ongoing high levels of pollution have triggered this situation, experts say.

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Another official said if the air quality continues to remain in the "severe" category for 48 hours, they would consider implementing more regulations. Researchers had forecast a "very poor" air quality index, or AQI, of 306 for Wednesday, considering pollution from firecrackers.