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2:51 am - Thursday February 22, 2018

Delhi air pollution hits a new low

Authorities asked to be ready for ‘Odd-Even’ scheme

Agencies, New Delhi

All civil construction activities and entry of trucks in Delhi were on Wednesday ordered to be stopped and the transport department was asked to be ready for introducing the odd even schemed as the national capital today hit a new low in air pollution, turning out to be the most polluted city in the world.

The toxic haze further thickened over the city, raising deep concern over public health, which led the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to describe the prevailing air pollution as state of ‘medical emergency.’’ The IMD forecast no relief for another two days.

Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal asked the Transport Department to start preparing for odd-even scheme, which was introduced last year under almost similar conditions as an emergency response. The LG directed that entry of truck traffic into Delhi (except essential commodities) should be stopped till further orders.

Besides, Mr Baijal also asked the Municipal Corporations, DDA and DMRC to enhance parking fees by four times. These decisions were taken at meeting which was also attended by the members of the Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA).

The EPCA today announced that pollution levels had hit “severe plus” mark. It had yesterday directed authorities to implement measures under the Graded Response Action Plan’s (GRAP’s) “severe” category, which included quadrupling parking fees and introducing differential pricing in public transport.

All schools in Delhi have been closed till Sunday to save the young from inhaling the poisonous air. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal shot off a letter to Haryana and Punjab chief ministers seeking their cooperation in finding a solution to the problem.

The stubble burning by farmers in the harvested fields has been the major cause of the smog as the smoke generated in the farms travels to the national capital. According to IMD scientist Mr Charan Singh, the present condition had also been caused by fog that was coming from Pakistan and Punjab towards Delhi. ’

We can expect some abatement in the conditions only towards the week end but clear skies will be back only from next He said smog is created when relative humidity is less than 75 per cent, facilitating the mingling of dust and skoke in the air.

According to System of Air quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the air quality in several zones of the capital was ‘severe’, including Lodhi Road, Delhi University, Pusa, Airport T3, Mathura Road, Ayanagar, Dhirpur and Pitampura.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) in the National Capital on Wednesday shot up to 476, as per the Central Pollution Control Board which was ‘severe’. When the AQI goes above 500, it is considered an emergency and GRAP (graded response action plan) mandated for the situation by Supreme Court is implemented.

Blocking the sun, smog blanket also brought down temperature by two degrees lesser at 14 degrees C, compared to 16.1 degrees C on Tuesday. The reduction in visibility affected raid road and air traffic. It also caused road accidents.

10 students killed in road mishap due to smog in Punjab Bathinda:

Ten students, including three girls, died and many others injured when a speeding tipper run over them near Bhucho Mandi on the Bathinda-Chandigarh highway in this district on Wednesday.

A speeding truck first hit a Tata Sumo and then crushed the students from the Rampura Phul area who were waiting for an alternative transport on roadside after their bus broke down near Chetak Park on the outskirts of the city. All the injured were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment.

The truck driver fled from the spot after the mishap. Meanwhile, many people were injured when a pile-up took place after the accident involving two buses and nearly half a dozen cars 50 metres away from the accident site.

Posted in: Featured, Nation

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