The Indian Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has warned people against going outdoors, and called on state leaders to be in “complete readiness” for emergency measures, amid worsening air pollution in the nation’s capital.
In circular on Friday, the CPCB called on the government and private businesses alike to reduce private transport usage by 30%, and advised citizens not to expose themselves to Delhi’s toxic smog.
The alarm was issued in light of worsening pollution levels in the National Capital Region. “Meteorological conditions will be highly unfavorable for dispersion of pollutants till November 18, 2021, due to low wind speed … and calm conditions during the night,”The board stated.
“Concerned state and implementing agencies must be in complete readiness for implementation of measures under ‘Emergency’ category as per GRAP [Graded Response Action Plan],”It was.
The pollution board’s Graded Response Action Plan requires local authorities to impose emergency measures if air quality remains in the ‘severe’ category for 48 hours. The measures included closing schools, halting all construction and restricting private vehicle usage. At 4pm on Friday, the National Capital Region had 471 readings on a scale from 500. They were previously 411 according to Indian media.
It is well-known that dense smog in the area can contain high levels of toxic airborne particulate matter, which could cause respiratory and cardiovascular disease. The average level of PM2.5 at 706 micrograms was recorded after Diwali festivities. To give context, PM2.5 levels greater than five micrograms per year are considered unsafe by the World Health Organization.
To reduce the amount of smog, authorities have stopped operating brick kilns. There’s also been a crackdown on garbage-burning and any activities that stir up dust.
An toxic foam that had gathered earlier in the week on the Yamuna, which flows through National Capital Region, was discovered. The white foam, which is believed to be caused by high levels ammonia or phosphates can cause skin irritation as well as respiratory problems.
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