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Delhi air pollution still ‘severe’; ban on app-based cabs ordered; artificial rain to fight smog: Updates

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Delhi Air Pollution Updates: The residents of Delhi woke up to another day of toxic air as the air quality continued to remain in the ‘severe’ category on Thursday morning, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

In this picture taken on November 7, a doctor (out of frame) examines the X-ray of a child with breathing difficulties at the emergency ward of the government-run Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya children hospital in New Delhi. (AFP)
In this picture taken on November 7, a doctor (out of frame) examines the X-ray of a child with breathing difficulties at the emergency ward of the government-run Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya children hospital in New Delhi. (AFP)

In view of the worsening air quality, the Delhi government on Wednesday announced that the December winter break of all schools has been rescheduled and it will be now from November 9 to November 18.

Meanwhile, the Haryana government has taken stringent measures against stubble burning, issuing 1,256 challans against the offenders, imposing more than 32 lakh in fines and filing 72 FIRs, chief secretary Sanjeev Kaushal said on Wednesday.

As Delhi’s air quality again dropped to the severe category on Wednesday with the 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded at 426, Delhi mayor Shelly Oberoi said open burning of garbage, dumping of construction waste and use of tandoors in restaurants were among the top contributors to rising air pollution in the national capital.

Latest updates on Delhi NCR air pollution:

  • The air quality index (AQI) in Anand Vihar was recorded at 432, it clocked at 453 in RK Puram, in Punjabi Bagh, it was at 444 and ITO saw 441 AQI on Thursday morning.
  • Ghaziabad recorded an average AQI of 443 at 6am. The concentration of PM2.5, fine particulate matter capable of penetrating deep into the respiratory system and triggering health problems, exceeded the government-prescribed safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metre by seven to eight times.
  • The air quality in Sector-51, Gurugram, again dropped to the ‘severe’ category on Thursday morning, with the AQI clocking at 444.
  • Delhi plans for the first time to make rain to try improve air quality in the city, which is the world’s most polluted capital and has been gripped by smog for a week. Delhi’s environment minister Gopal Rai a proposal drafted by experts on making rain will be presented to the Supreme Court on Friday. China, Indonesia and Malaysia have previously induced rain. Delhi’s environmental department said it planned to seed clouds, a technique that uses substances such as silver iodine to induce precipitation. The artificial rain through cloud seeding will be attempted around November 20.
  • Rai said the odd-even car rationing scheme will be implemented in Delhi after the Supreme Court reviews its effectiveness and issues an order.
  • The transport department has been issued directions to ban app-based taxis “in accordance with the Supreme Court’s orders”, Rai said. However, senior officials said a detailed order will make it clear whether the ban will come into effect from this week or will only be effective during the time of odd-even car rationing scheme is in place.
  • According to the Haryana government, 90 per cent of paddy harvesting in the state has been completed and the state government is actively bolstering its measures to combat stubble burning.
  • Gautam Buddh Nagar district magistrate Manish Verma asked industries and builders to ramp up anti-pollution measures at their sites and directed government officials to ensure penal action against those violating NGT norms across Noida and Greater Noida. During a meeting with representatives of industries and builders along with government departments, Verma underlined that all construction works in the district is banned for the time being except for hospitals and the Noida International Airport in Jewar, according to an official statement.

(With inputs from agencies)

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