dd Delhi is now 'gas chamber'

ENVIRONMENT

Delhi is now 'gas chamber'

Published: 01 Nov 2019   

Online Desk

Five million masks are being distributed at schools in India's capital, Delhi, after pollution made the air so toxic officials were forced to declare a public health emergency.

A Supreme Court mandated panel imposed several restrictions in the city and two neighbouring states, as air quality deteriorated to "severe" levels, reports BBC.

All construction has been halted for a week and fireworks have been banned.

The city's schools have also been closed until at least next Tuesday.

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Delhi had been turned into a "gas chamber".

The masks are being handed out to students and their parents, and Mr Kejriwal has asked people to use them as much as possible.

The levels of tiny particulate matter (known as PM2.5) that enter deep into the lungs are 533 micrograms per cubic metre in the city. 

The WHO recommends that the PM2.5 levels should not be more than 25 micrograms per cubic metre on average in 24 hours.

As thick white smog blanketed the city, residents started tweeting pictures of their surroundings. Many are furious that the situation remains the same year after year.

The hashtags #DelhiAirQuality and #FightAgainstDelhiPollition are trending on Twitter.

One of the main reasons for air quality in the city worsening every year in November and December is that farmers in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana burn crop stubble to clear their fields. It's made worse by the fireworks during the Hindu festival of Diwali.

There are other reasons too, including construction dust, factory and vehicular emissions, but farm fires remain the biggest culprit.

More than two million farmers burn 23 million tonnes of crop residue on some 80,000 sq km of farmland in northern India every winter.

The stubble smoke is a lethal cocktail of particulate matter, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide.

Using satellite data, Harvard University researchers estimated that nearly half of Delhi's air pollution between 2012 and 2016 was due to stubble burning.

The burning is so widespread that it even shows up in satellite photos from Nasa.


Teesta crosses danger mark

Teesta crosses danger mark

The Teesta crossed the danger mark at Dalia point in ...

Hilsa to be tastier this year: Expert

Hilsa to be tastier this year: Expert

People will get more delicious hilsa on their plates this ...

Bolivian president has coronavirus

Bolivian president has coronavirus

Bolivia’s interim president and Venezuela’s No. 2 leader announced Thursday ...

Global death toll from coronavirus reaches 554,304

Global death toll from coronavirus reaches 554,304

The death toll from Covid-19 crossed 554,304 and the confirmed ...

COVID-19 vaccine by October: Pfizer

COVID-19 vaccine by October: Pfizer

Pfizer is increasingly confident that its efforts to develop a ...

Faridpur Zilla Parishad Chairman Lokman dies of Corona

Faridpur Zilla Parishad Chairman Lokman dies of Corona

Faridpur Zilla Parishad Chairman, district Awami League vice-president, prominent educationist ...

India sees more local coronavirus lockdowns as cases near 800,000

India sees more local coronavirus lockdowns as cases near 800,000

India reported a record 26,506 new coronavirus cases on Friday ...

37 die, 2,949 infected in 24 hours

37 die, 2,949 infected in 24 hours

Thirty-seven people have died from coronavirus infections in the last ...