Delhi residents must plan precautionary measures as air pollution may get worse over the next two days. With light rain predicted on Monday and Tuesday, government officials informed that suspended particulate matter in the air, especially PM 10, may witness a spike if the wind speed is low.
“Drizzle is predicted on October 3 and 4 and if that happens temperature will go down. This coupled with an absence of wind is going to increase the concentration of air pollutants,” said an official in the environment department. Experts suggest that people must start taking precautions such as using masks as with the arrival of winter and Diwali, air quality is going to worsen.
After ranging from ‘good’ to ‘moderate’, the initial signs of ‘poor’ air quality began from Saturday.
On Sunday at 6.15 pm, levels of PM 10, coarse particles in the air, in the three most polluted areas of Delhi – Anand Vihar, Punjabi Bagh and RK Puram — ranged between 117-564 microgram per cubic metre (m/m3) against the permissible limit of 100 mu/m3.
On the other hand, PM 2.5 particles that can trigger respiratory ailments reached 84 mu/m3 and 63 mu/m3 in Aanad Vihar and RK Puram respectively against the prescribed standard of 60 mu/m3.
In December 2015, the Delhi government had announced a slew of measures to curb alarming levels of air pollution. The action plan included restrictions on plying of vehicles, shutting down of power plants, vacuum-cleaning of roads and not allowing vehicle parking on PWD roads.
Nothing apart from the odd-even scheme, however, seems to have happened. The Badarpur Thermal Power plant is chugging, though the NTPC claims that it is adhering to the permissible emission norms. The plan to vacuum clean 1,260 kilometres of PWD roads has not moved any further since its launch in April this year. At that time four such vacuum suction sweeper machines were procured and vehicles are still being parked on PWD roads.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, special secretary (environment department) SM Ali said, “We are taking all the necessary actions. Letters have been issued to the traffic police and the local police to keep strict vigilance on Chinese crackers. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has also increased its air monitoring centres.”