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Dec 05, 2017 11:19 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Pollution back to haunt Delhi again, pollutants 10 times the permissible limit

The pollution during winter has now become a yearly affair for the national capital. Despite the efforts of authorities which includes the Supreme Court there is no respite from it

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A blanket of thick grey smog everywhere. Cars’ headlights lighting brightly even in the late morning. Kids going to school with misty eyes, not because they don’t want to go to, but because their eyes are burning. Sportspersons playing with masks on their face.

This could very well be a scene from some dystopic movie, albeit, this is how Delhi is today.

The demons of pollution are back to haunt the capital city as the air quality continued to worsen on Tuesday. The level of PM2.5 —particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns in size—shot up to reach 10 times the permissible amount in certain parts of Delhi. The air quality index showed that the air Delhiites are breathing in is hazardous for them.

According to the data provided by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), the PM2.5 level in Anand Vihar area was 613 micrograms per cubic metre at 0930 hours on Tuesday. The PM10 concentration also hovered nearly 10 times above maximum recommended limit at 973 micrograms per cubic metre.

In other areas of Delhi, the situation was more or less the same. East Delhi, as usual, was the most polluted part of the city. The Mandir Marg station which is closest to the Firoz Shah Kotla Stadium where the test match between Indian and Sri Lankan cricket team is being played reported PM2.5 concentration as 370  micrograms per cubic metre, six times the normal.
Reporting station

PM2.5(in micrograms per cubic metre)

PM10(in micrograms per cubic metre)

Anand Vihar613973
Mother Dairy, Patparganj581902
Dr KS Shooting Range, Tughlakabad462687
JLN Stadium454467
DITE, Wazirpur500586
Mandir Marg370515
RK Puram368725
BP Ayurvedic Hospital, Nazafgarh340432
ITI, Shahdra6041003

All data points were recorded at 0930 hours on Tuesday. The maximum permissible concentration of PM2.5  is 60 micrograms per cubic metre and of PM10 is 100 micrograms per cubic metre. Data Source: DPCC.  

The first two weeks of November, the air quality had dropped to the worst level of the year and remained hazardous for a week, prompting the government authorities to take emergency measures. Schools were shut down and all construction activities were halted.

The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government also planned to introduce the Odd-Even vehicle rationing system but later decided against it after National Green Tribunal expressed reservations against certain exceptions provided under it.

The pollution during winter has now become a yearly affair for the national capital. Despite the efforts of authorities which includes the Supreme Court there is no respite from it.

The main reason for this spell of pollution is said to be rising humidity, falling temperature and lack of flow of wind. Anand Vihar and RK Puram stations reported 48 and 55 percent (relative) humidity in the morning. And, the wind speed was recorded between 0.3 and 0.6 metre per second.

As there is no wind flowing, the pollutants stay suspended in the air without any significant movement. The higher relative humidity means comparatively more water vapour in the air to trap the particulate matter.

Smog

The particulate matter in the air can be fatal for humans. PM2.5 particles can penetrate our body’s natural security mechanism and can be inhaled deep into lungs, sometimes even reaching our blood. They can cause heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases, and are known to pose the greatest risk to human health.

A recent study by Centre for Science and Environment said that one in three children in Delhi has impaired lungs. Another report had earlier suggested that kids in the capital have smaller lungs compared to children in the US thanks to poor air quality.

Air pollution takes six million lives each year worldwide, and India tops the list where 1.9 million premature deaths occur due to outdoor and indoor air pollution.
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