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Old 2nd November 2019, 18:41   #1
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Default Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!

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On Wednesday, three days after Diwali, Delhi almost disappeared behind a blanket of smoky haze. The air quality remained in 'severe' category with the overall AQI (Air Quality Index) oscillating between 410 and 420 during the day, according to data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
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According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor SAFAR, the share of stubble burning in Delhi's pollution rose to 35 per cent, the season's highest, confirming the Delhi Chief Minister's concerns. Twenty-seven of the 37 air quality monitoring stations across Delhi recorded the AQI in the 'severe' category on Wednesday.

Anand Vihar was the most polluted area in the capital with an AQI of 464 and Wazirpur following with an AQI of 462. Pollution levels in the satellite towns of Ghaziabad (478), Greater Noida (440), and Noida (451) were equally worse.

The AQI, which takes into account five chief pollutants including PM10 and PM2.5, was recorded at 416 towards noon, according to the CPCB. An AQI between 401 and 500 is considered 'severe' and anything beyond 500 is 'severe-plus emergency'.
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The CPCB, in an emergency meeting, asked Punjab and Haryana to take stringent and immediate action against stubble burning. The ban on coal-based industry has been extended till November 2, while construction activities too have been stopped.

Water sprinkling and issuing fines have not yielded much result. Task force agencies have been told to intensify actions on waste burning and dumping.
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After the sudden spike in air pollution, the Delhi government also announced that it would distribute 50 lakh N95 anti-pollution masks free to students from November 1.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government has directed all schools in the national capital to suspend outdoor activities as long as the severe pollution condition persists. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the decision to shut schools will be taken when the need arises.

Advising parents to send their children for classes wearing masks and shifting outdoor activities indoors are among the steps taken by schools in Delhi-NCR to deal with pollution as the air quality continues to be in the 'severe' category.
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The city government has ordered the shutdown of construction activities and coal-based power plants. From next week, Delhi will restrict the use of private vehicles on the capital's roads under an "odd-even" scheme based on vehicle number plates.
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"It is a public health emergency," said Desh Deepak, a chest physician at the city's Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

"Today, lungs are far blacker compared to 20 years ago."

Some citizens' groups and doctors took to Twitter to call for schools to be temporarily closed until the air quality improved.
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Former India cricket captain Bishan Singh Bedi, meanwhile, led a chorus of warnings over Delhi hosting a limited-overs Twenty20 cricket match between India and Bangladesh on Sunday, citing "hazardous air quality".

Some residents also called for the cancellation of a 6 km run planned for Thursday to mark the anniversary of the birth of former home minister Sardar Patel, revered by ruling Hindu nationalists.
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According to data from Punjab and Central Pollution Control Boards, the state has recorded a whopping increase of 7,842 fires - from 12,027 on October 27 to 19,869 on October 30.

While Haryana has recorded an increase of 476 cases - from 3,735 on October 27 to 4,211 on October 30.
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Farmers in Punjab and Haryana are burning harvest residue to prepare their ground for planting the rabi, or winter-sown, crop. The state governments had launched a campaign to discourage farmers from burning crop residue but higher cost of alternative ways to clear the field along with the small window of time between the delayed harvest of the previous crop and the planting of the next one has encouraged many farmers to quickly burn the remnants of the harvested crop.
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People living in the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) could lose around seven years of their life due to high air pollution levels.

The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) released by Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago (EPIC) showed a 72% increase in pollution from 1998 to 2016 in the region that is home to around 40% of India’s population. The impact on people’s lives in 1998 was nearly half of today (a loss of 3.7 years of life expectancy).
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Old 2nd November 2019, 20:30   #2
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I recently installed an app called Air Matters (on iPhone, available for Android too) and curiously checked map of Delhi's Air and it is like all 400 and plus. While I am in Mumbai and for Mumbai it is showing as 81 and the area where I stay it shows 32 (which is on par with many cities like Tokyo, Washington DC and Paris). I know Mumbai being coastal city helps.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 20:35   #3
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Default Re: Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!

The situation is quite bad. I am quite used to Delhi-NCR's air pollution and go about my daily work & commutes without a fuss. But the last 48 hours have been particularly bad with moisture laden air close to the ground, largely no wind and pungent eye straining air quality.

Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!-img_20191031_171452.jpg
Apartment blocks about 500 meters away at 5:00PM yesterday

Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!-img_20191102_164930.jpg
Today afternoon 3:45PM. The metro station building athwart the road is about 200 to 250 metres away. Photo from the rear seat of my car.

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Old 2nd November 2019, 20:53   #4
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Default Re: Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!

Air pollution is going to be the biggest killer in coming years, more than anything else. This year, the condition of Delhi-NCR is really bad. I was aghast at a snap shared by my brother. He said that eyes were stinging today.


Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!-img20191102wa0033__01.jpg
This is today evening. That building is about 200 meters away.

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Same building exactly 5 weeks back. You can see so far off, even Aravalis from New Gurugram.

There's already a discussion going on regarding India having 14 of world's top 15 most polluted cities but that also includes other parameters. Link (India has 14 out of the 15 most polluted cities in the world). But Delhi has crossed all limits. Even my city is hovering around 370 plus on most days.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 21:10   #5
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Default Re: Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!

Strong opinion ahead.

This is not a Delhi problem, this is a north India problem. Media keeps on tom tomming Delhi, which makes the problem seem localised and trivial. Fact is, all the way from Punjab to Bengal and even Bangladesh it is more of the same. We are sitting on a national health emergency here and our authorities are only passing blame on each other.

I am from Faridabad, where PM2.5 AQI today was 560. I repeat, 560. WHO recommends safe limit of under 25. My throat has been sore for days and my eyes went red and started to burn while walking from my car to my door just a couple of hours back.

The geniuses who made our rating system to declare severe and hazardous air quality at 400 and 500 did that only to brush the problem under the carpet, because to me setting the red alert level so high is deliberately condemning your population to sickness and death. For god’s sake, Beijing shuts down entirely at 400. We’ve had much more for weeks now spreading over lakhs of sq kms, affecting over 500million people. It is disgraceful. It is debilitating. It is real. And we are being forced to accept it.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 22:03   #6
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Default Re: Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!

What is worse is no govt. official is even thinking of solving this issue, not even the environment minister. This year in Gurgaon it has gone worse and even my air purifiers at home are struggling to bring PM 2.5 levels under 100. Those with lung issues are having a terrible time and we are left to slowly poison ourselves every year. This is truly becoming India's Chernobyl and we will be seeing an epidemic in the coming 5-10 years of lung cancer and what not with this slow poison. We really need a Man of Iron will to take some hard steps to rein-in this like China did.

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Old 2nd November 2019, 22:13   #7
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Default Re: Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!

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This is truly becoming India's Chernobyl and we will be seeing an epidemic in the coming 5-10 years of lung cancer and what not with this slow poison. We really need a Man of Iron will to take some hard steps to rein-in this like China did.
I couldn’t have put it better. We today have a strong center which can push through the tough measures needed here if it wants to. Unfortunately, our leadership and our population in general still seem more interested in playing Region Religion rather than dealing with this catastrophe. We risk loosing our entire demographic divided if air pollution is not tackled with on a war footing.

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Old 2nd November 2019, 23:07   #8
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I am residing in Delhi. The pollution we are facing currently is very different from vehicular pollution. I think someone should put data in terms of sulpher dioxide, Nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide etc that is there Delhi currently against data of pollution in Delhi at different timeline i.e when crop reside are not burnt. A poor AQI can happen even in a dust storm.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 23:48   #9
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Default Re: Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!

Want to share my experience : On 19 and 20 October, I visited my native place, a village 165 kms from Vadodara, for some work. When I went there on 19, I had sore throat and cold. After spending more than 24 hours in my native place there was no sore throat or cold. This was second time I had this experience, so I consulted my uncle who is a doctor. He said that dust and pollution is reason why I had the sore throat and cold, it wasnt accompanied with fever. This is situation of Vadodara city. My sister had dust allergy and after moving to Canada her health with respect to repeated Cold she suffered from has significantly reduced. During my visit to my village, even fan was not required as the temperatures were already low enough to be comfortable without fan.

This is impact of air quality of our lives. Its downright unbelievable that such poor quality air is reported from many cities all over India and yet next to no steps are taken for controlling this problem. Am sure that vehicles will be quickly blamed and root cause, which IMO is not vehicle emissions, will remain as it is. Given the images shared, its a disaster for our health, and I guess even animals/wildlife is also impacted.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 10:41   #10
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Default Re: Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!

We were just discussing this yesterday over a family dinner! My biggest worry was Mumbai becoming like this in 10 - 20 years. Just hope that lesser cars + being an island with water on all sides + no stubble burning keep things better.

I'm alarmed by the pics. Take care, Delhi BHPians! Do any of you have an action plan? Example, air purifiers in the house or something?
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Old 3rd November 2019, 11:01   #11
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Default Re: Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!

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We were just discussing this yesterday over a family dinner! My biggest worry was Mumbai becoming like this in 10 - 20 years. Just hope that lesser cars + being an island with water on all sides + no stubble burning keep things better.

I'm alarmed by the pics. Take care, Delhi BHPians! Do any of you have an action plan? Example, air purifiers in the house or something?
With my limited understanding Mumbai will never become like this primarily because:

1. There is no crop burning issue

2. You have the sea

3. Attitude of people (by which I mean people in Mumbai should be more receptive to save themselves from a situation like this. This is my personal opinion).

For me there is no action plan. I recently purchased an air purifier but to be honest if your place spans across or is more than 800 sq. ft. you have to have at least 3 air purifiers at home. Air purifiers typically work in closed rooms of approx. 300 sq. ft. and the entire purpose dilutes the moment you step outside the room. I woke up today to find my living room totally misty and smoggy.

So, to keep the AQ alright I got to purchase 2 more air purifiers.

I moved to Delhi in July and all this while I have been hearing about Delhi pollution. Now I am experiencing it first hand, daily.

Seems like all these years of keeping my lungs healthy by not smoking actually was futile.

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I guess even animals/wildlife is also impacted.
Yes, you wont see too many birds flying in Delhi this time of the year.

What baffles me is this is the condition of a capital city in country like India. It easy to say that no action is being taken to fix all of this, but the actual problem is much more complicated with political parties cashing in and large scale appeasement of certain people at the cost of other people's lives.

Last edited by Pancham : 3rd November 2019 at 11:07.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 11:06   #12
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Default Re: Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!

India needs a decentralisation policy to shift pressure off from Delhi / NCR.

Unfortunately there is no other way. If population keep on increasing, majority will end up electing goverment who will undermine all these drastic polution control measures.

Goverment should or rather must seriously think for long term policy for shifting major offices & come up with regulations to force private organisations too.

Other states & cities need to act quickly to avoid being same as Delhi in near future.

Restricting people aren't the way in India. Sentimental values will undermine all sane thinking. So better to reduce the density, spread out the business/office/department in various other locations. In the age of video conferencing, high-speed data network & digital governance, it can be done easily.

Thanks.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 11:25   #13
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Default Re: Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!

This cannot be attributed to just cars and industries and ACs in Delhi/NCR. Every year when there's stubble burning, this coincides. But everything that has to be done is left to Delhi. The weather changes earlier, but when parali happens, this is the result, and everyone is comfortably blind in the neighboring states that pump their fumes in the air without regard.

Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!-collagemaker_20191103_1100508123072x3072.jpg

Last edited by aah78 : 5th November 2019 at 22:28. Reason: Picture inserted in-line. Post fixed.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 11:59   #14
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Default Re: Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!

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Originally Posted by Shreyans_Jain View Post
This is not a Delhi problem, this is a north India problem. Media keeps on tom tomming Delhi, which makes the problem seem localised and trivial.

We are sitting on a national health emergency here and our authorities are only passing blame on each other.
Very true, actually per this report 22 of the top 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India, most of them from UP/Haryana/Bihar belt.

Many don't like quoting China as example, but I can't resist this time. One of my colleague from China said Beijing was once the most polluted city on planet earth but that has now transformed a big way. A nice report here.

Coal fired power plants and boilers were knocked down. Many industries had to relocate, vehicle pollution norms made more stringent.

Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!-beijing-air-pollutant-reductions-1998-2017.png

It didn't happen over night. It takes decades.

Would be tougher for India, because it requires efficient adoption of policies across states and inheritance by incumbent Governments. Taking down coal fired boilers of Beijing is perhaps less daunting than bringing down crop fires.

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 3rd November 2019 at 12:00.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 12:12   #15
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Default Re: Delhi pollution level goes from bad to worse, marked as 'severe'!!

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We were just discussing this yesterday over a family dinner! My biggest worry was Mumbai becoming like this in 10 - 20 years. Just hope that lesser cars + being an island with water on all sides + no stubble burning keep things better.

I'm alarmed by the pics. Take care, Delhi BHPians! Do any of you have an action plan? Example, air purifiers in the house or something?
Only action plan would be to exit the City. But Unfortunatly most of north as per below link is like that.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/stor...206-2019-11-02

Its painful to see my once favorite city like this.

Mumbai may never get this bad. But we should remember not to bench mark against the worst. Mumbai air gets quite bad at times. Last year Pune was hovering between 300 and 400 for a few days.

None of this is acceptable in developed world and unfortunately non-issues for us.

Couple of months ago, wind blew some smoke from forest burning in Indonesia to Singapore. Air quality dropped to around 100 in some areas. I know of companies that allowed wfh then. School kids were given masks. 100 in delhi is considered good but was bad enough to spook Singaporeans!!

Last edited by vibbs : 3rd November 2019 at 12:14.
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