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Old 14th November 2017, 13:40   #1
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Default Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents

The pollution levels in Delhi and the surrounding NCR have peaked this month. Record levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 suspended particles have caused low visibility and health problems, resulting in the enforcement of drastic measures by the government.

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In the first week of November 2017, the cooler weather, stagnant winds and uncontrolled stubble burning, garbage burning, road dust, industrial pollution and construction & demolition activities caused high levels of smog in the region along with a severe drop in visibility. According to data taken on the 7th November, PM 2.5 levels reached a peak of 999 mg, much above the tolerable levels of 60 mg, whereas PM 10 levels shot up to 999 as well, far above the permissible levels of 100 mg. It must be noted that 999 is the maximum reading that can be displayed on the testing equipment.

The low visibility caused due to the smog causes severe hardships for the motorists as well as other road users. Apart from health issues, the smog makes it difficult to drive on the roads. It has also been reported that the low visibility has delayed trains, flights and even movement of vehicles across the region. The Yamuna Expressway witnessed a big vehicle pile-up due to extremely low visibility on November 8.

In an attempt to bring the problem under control, the Chief Minister of Delhi had announced a slew of measures. These included shutting down schools for 3 days last week, a ban on diesel gensets, shut down of the coal based Bharatpur power plant for 10 days, ban on construction and demolition activities in the region, water sprinkling on the roads of Delhi and the implementation of the odd-even scheme this week.

The odd-even scheme, however, stands cancelled by the Delhi Government as of today, as the NGT has made no exception for women drivers and two-wheelers like the last time. Additionally, in a bid to increase the use of public transportation and demotivate individual car owners, the car parking rates have been hiked four-fold to Rs. 80 per hour in the capital.

The government and other authorities has always blamed vehicles for the severe pollution in the region and introduced drastic bans. In December 2015, the registration of diesel cars with engines larger than 2,000cc was prohibited in the NCR citing the rising levels of pollution in the region. This ban was lifted in August 2016, but car makers had to pay a 1% cess on the ex-showroom price of the vehicles.

The odd-even scheme was first enforced in January 2016 and later in April 2016. Exemptions were given to women drivers, cars carrying children in school uniform, CNG cars and vehicles of chief ministers of other states. This rule was applicable from 8 am to 8 pm from Monday to Saturday and a penalty of Rs. 2,000 was imposed on anyone flouting the norms. These bans caused inconvenience to the motorists.

However, it must be noted that vehicular emissions contribute to a small percentage of the total pollution. As we have mentioned earlier, the major contributors to this smog are the smoke emitting from stubble burning and the vast construction activities happening in the region. If the authorities want to bring the situation under control, these issues need to be addressed at the earliest.

Sources - NDTV, Indian Express, TOI

Link to Team-BHP News

Last edited by blackwasp : 14th November 2017 at 13:45.
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Old 14th November 2017, 14:52   #2
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Default Re: Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents

Since I have never experienced "smog" before -

1) Does smog have a 'burning' smell? Does your eyes hurt? Or is it just like fog you see at a hill station?
2) Do fog lamps work in smog?

If the answer to the 2nd question is yes, Delhiites need to buy cars equipped with rear fog lamps.
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Old 14th November 2017, 15:00   #3
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Default Re: Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Since I have never experienced "smog" before -

1) Does smog have a 'burning' smell? Does your eyes hurt? Or is it just like fog you see at a hill station?
2) Do fog lamps work in smog?

If the answer to the 2nd question is yes, Delhiites need to buy cars equipped with rear fog lamps.
1. no it doesn't have a burning smell. It smells and feels like inhaling a puff of fine dust - which irritates your lungs and throat, and people with asthma or dust allergy suffers the most. Also, near visibility is ok in smog but falls down exponentially over distance, much quicker than in fog which is more uniformly dense.

2. Yes fog lamps work.
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Old 14th November 2017, 15:13   #4
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Default Re: Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents

I have read somewhere in an article that while the local polluters do add up to the foul air quality in Delhi, this issue, it seems, has more factors at play.

Quote:
Delhiites inhale middle-east air as the dry air in upper layers of atmosphere accumulates from the bone-dry nations.

The dust-laden winds cross the much cooler Pakistan collecting water particles in the form of fog, and smoke from Punjab’s flaming fields.

The lethal smog has sprouted a lush tussle with the neighbouring states. But scientists narrates a different story saying the trouble has come from further afield – as far as Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Heavier now, the winds sink and settle over Delhi and its surrounding areas, causing a noxious blanket.

A dip in night temperature increases the moisture content, trapping the city in the grey-brown haze.
While I read this story in a local newspaper, I believe this link reports the same.

http://www.newsleakcentre.com/intern...-arabian-dust/
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Old 14th November 2017, 15:16   #5
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Default Re: Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents

Quote:
Originally Posted by vamsi.kona View Post
I have read somewhere in an article that while the local polluters do add up to the foul air quality in Delhi, this issue, it seems, has more factors at play.



While I read this story in a local newspaper, I believe this link reports the same.

http://www.newsleakcentre.com/intern...-arabian-dust/
I had read this also. But in winter, aren't the winds easterly/north easterly ? at least down south it is !
Lack of breeze itself could be a major reason for pollution increase. Also, I hear lots of places in UP have been facing the issue more than Delhi.
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Old 14th November 2017, 15:21   #6
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Default Re: Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents

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Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
I had read this also. But in winter, aren't the winds easterly/north easterly ? at least down south it is !
Lack of breeze itself could be a major reason for pollution increase. Also, I hear lots of places in UP have been facing the issue more than Delhi.
Up north, we have mostly wind flowing in from west (called Pachhua, literally meaning from paschim, that is - west). It is slow, freezing and dry, usually marking the onset of harsh winters.

Likewise, wind from east (called purwai, meaning coming from purab - east) marks the onset of spring season (or at least a marked rise in temperature).
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Old 14th November 2017, 15:23   #7
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Default Re: Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents

Quote:
Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
I had read this also. But in winter, aren't the winds easterly/north easterly ? at least down south it is !
It seems it is from west to east, at least for Delhi.
Quote:
The problem was also aggravated by a reversal in normal direction of wind, said R. Vishen, in-charge of the regional weather forecasting center of India Meteorological Department, New Delhi. “Normally, the wind direction in Delhi is north westerly (west to east). But from October 28 till date, the north north easterly (east to west) component was prevailing, preventing pollutants from dispersing and allowing them to accumulate in the air,” he said.
https://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/...air-pollution/
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Old 14th November 2017, 17:29   #8
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Just finished reading the article - very mature. Talks about the real issues and possible solutions with some appropriate examples. Good (and informative) read.

https://www.ndtv.com/opinion/living-...-delhi-1774718
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Old 14th November 2017, 17:38   #9
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Default Re: Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Since I have never experienced "smog" before -

1) Does smog have a 'burning' smell? Does your eyes hurt? Or is it just like fog you see at a hill station?
2) Do fog lamps work in smog?
I have lived in Delhi all my life and I can very much feel the negative effect these climatic/environmental changes have had on me. Breathing isn’t easy and eyes hurt.

This is nothing like fog. Fog is essentially moisture. This is smoke and fine particles and everything bad that can be there. No burning smell though.

Visibility is low. So, any form of lighting is welcome to be visible.

Sadly, this wasn’t unexpected. The signs have been there for every one of us. Construction, pollution, crop burning, vanishing open spaces and Delhi used as a corridor by trucks. And, no one planting trees.

Somewhere between the need for stern measures and vote bank politics, the latter triumphed.

Meanwhile the working class had gone about their daily lives as if everything was okay or things would turn around. None of that has happened.

Masks are a new normal and one finds increasing number of people in local markets wearing one. Another new normal is to have air purifier at home and in car.

One can debate about wind direction etc., but the fact is this mess is created by us.

It is sad. It hurts body and most of it all, it has probably changed the way young kids in Delhi will grow up. Something similar to what we may have watched in sci-fi movies as kids, i.e., a day with the Sun not being visible.

Change won’t come about with force or stronger legislation till people living in and around Delhi acknowledge that this is a problem and that if nothing is done it will forever change the way the next generation will grow up. It is also a warning for other cities in India. Be warned and take corrective steps.

Last edited by Traveller Nayak : 14th November 2017 at 17:41.
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Old 14th November 2017, 18:10   #10
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Default Re: Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Since I have never experienced "smog" before -

1) Does smog have a 'burning' smell? Does your eyes hurt? Or is it just like fog you see at a hill station?
Well that very much depends upon case to case, for an allergic person like me, it makes my eyes water and the nose starts to irritate like when one inhales smoke. But taking a lot of liquid helps reducing the ill effects.

Last edited by GTO : 15th November 2017 at 09:43. Reason: typo
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Old 15th November 2017, 11:31   #11
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Default Re: Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Since I have never experienced "smog" before -

1) Does smog have a 'burning' smell? Does your eyes hurt? Or is it just like fog you see at a hill station?
2) Do fog lamps work in smog?

If the answer to the 2nd question is yes, Delhiites need to buy cars equipped with rear fog lamps.
From my experience smog feel like breathing in heavy air it has a bit of an odour if its related to crop stubble burning, otherwise its like a haze (less dense than a fog in hilly areas) which looks dirty. Fog is still a clean experience.

People visiting these cities from outside feel the irritation in their nasal cavities and throats, experience a mild nauseating head ache. Its a sick feeling.

People rate cities on quality of life but I feel smaller cities, towns and villages have better quality of life but no opportunity professionally.

Fog lamps work as usual.
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Old 15th November 2017, 11:38   #12
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Default Re: Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Since I have never experienced "smog" before -

1) Does smog have a 'burning' smell? Does your eyes hurt? Or is it just like fog you see at a hill station?
Smell has a lot of memories.

The closest smell I can tell you for smog would be: If you can remember any railways station which was not energized with electricity. That constant smell of diesel and burning fuel, which was specific to stations of bygone eras. That is smog. Last week when I stepped out of my office at Cyber City that smell and "essence" hit me. After many years I remembered those railway stations, and of course pollution. It is depressing / dystopian -- to have all this now in a city.

If a car is left parked outside for 8-9H, there is a fine layer of soot type material on the surface.

Fog in the hill stations (am from one) -- is fresh, natural, and rejuvenating. Specially when it sticks to your eyelashes and brows! LOL. SMOG: is industrial and artificial.

Last edited by asingh1977 : 15th November 2017 at 11:41.
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Old 15th November 2017, 13:39   #13
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Default Re: Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents

Its actually very sad and frustrating to have this same Smog during this time of year. Both Central and State Governments fail to address this issue proactively and just pass the buck to each other.
Pollution from vehicles remains throughout year, however it is never that bad to have such severe Smog like situation. There are external factors building this deadly smog in Delhi NCR region.
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Old 15th November 2017, 14:06   #14
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Default Re: Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents

SMOG = Smoke(suspended pollutants/particles) + Fog(moisture)

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Since I have never experienced "smog" before -
Well smartcat, you are the lucky one and I wish you never ever get to experience it either. So I go discourteous and do not invite you here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
1) Does smog have a 'burning' smell? Does your eyes hurt? Or is it just like fog you see at a hill station?
2) Do fog lamps work in smog?
There isn't any burning smell but the moment I go outdoors, I can feel a change in of air. There's a mild smell(can't describe it in words for its unique to the smog and there's no associated family to it). If I stay outdoors for a prolonged period of time, I tend to feel lack of oxygen/fresh air and yes, a sour/burning sensation in my eyes.

Besides, even though I work in a state-of-the-art global standard facility, since the last few days I am wondering my nose gets dirty by the end of evening - Booger!

From my office, the view outside looks as if it is too cold outside(~hill station) with barely any sunlight toughing down and feels great, but it isn't WYSIWYG!

Fog lamps not really needed IMHO, but DRLs alone do a decent job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveller Nayak View Post
Somewhere between the need for stern measures and vote bank politics, the latter triumphed.
As rightly mentioned by Traveller Nayak, vote bank politics is one of the prime reasons where a lot may be talked at the upper levels and/or in the media but little is done at the ground level.

The Sunday gone by I was driving to from Gurgaon to south Delhi and on my way I spotted a dark cloud of smoke rising from behind the shrubs on the roadside. I pulled over and took along the water bottle I normally keep inside my car to check and douse, but found some village people were burning a tyre to warm themselves. Helpless I was to turnaround from a distance since this was an intentional act and it is the local authorities to take action against such people. Similarly, today morning near my home I noticed some people from the hutments had been sharing the warmth by burning garbage. No one to check.

That said, its a 'high-high-high' time for us to have strict laws and a stricter enforcement keeping aside all the politics or be prepared to bear the consequences.

Current situation:

From the past 2 days, there has been a mild breeze flowing, thus helping to disappear the smog to a significant extent. The situation is now far better and sunlight has started reaching us down.

Sharing below pictures of the outside view clicked at 12:00 noon today from the inside of my office.

View of Gurgaon
Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents-gurgaon.jpg

View towards New Delhi (border hardly a kilometer)
Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents-delhi.jpg

Cheers & do breathe healthy!
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Old 15th November 2017, 15:26   #15
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Default Re: Delhi smog causes traffic woes, accidents

Smog or fog both require particulate matter for moisture in air to condense upon. Without moisture there wont be smog, only heavy hazy pollution. Smog smells funny because of suspended dust particles, smoke particles and nox particles. As someone rightly said above smog smells like a steam train station in winter.
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