LIVE Delhi Air Pollution updates: The Delhi government today announced that primary schools would be closed tomorrow in view of deteriorating air pollution conditions in the city. Moreover, all schools have been asked to stop outdoor activities, including morning assemblies, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said. “Primary schools in Delhi, including private ones, will remain closed tomorrow. We are monitoring the situation on an hourly basis and a further decision on the measures will be taken on Thursday,” he told reporters. The government has also issued a health advisory for high-risk people, including children, the elderly and those suffering from asthma and heart ailments.
Here are all the LIVE UPDATES on developments happening in wake of Air Pollution rise in Delhi:
9: 20 pm: The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution and Control Authority (Epca) on Tuesday ordered a four-time hike in parking fee and a cut in Metro fare in a series of emergency measures, as Delhi’s air pollution spiked to severe level.
8: 36 pm: Many farmers in Haryana and the neighbouring Punjab, however, have continued with the practice, leading to health risks, causing damage to environment and adversely affecting the soil health. Both the Haryana and Punjab governments have imposed a ban on burning of paddy residue and the erring farmers can also be prosecuted by the authorities. In the last few years it has been noted that when stubble is burned in the two leading agrarian states, the pollutants enter Delhi, adversely affecting the air quality in the national capital.
8: 28 pm: At many places, traffic on the main roads and highways moved slowly as visibility was low. In Haryana, the Pollution Control Board has started a statewide campaign to generate awareness among farmers.
8: 22 pm: Data provided by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) said that Air Quality Index of Ludhiana (313), Mandi-Gobindgarh (328) and Amritsar (215) today was “poor” to “very poor”. Over 3,000 cases of stubble-burning have been recorded in Patiala district alone so far by the PPCB through the remote-sensing technique. “The level of pollutants in the atmosphere at many places in Punjab continues to be quite high,” PPCB chairman Kahan Singh Pannu said today.
8: 15 pm: Thick smog, mainly caused by stubble burning, continued to envelop parts of Punjab and neighbouring Haryana today affecting normal life. The MeT Department said the situation was unlikely to improve over the next two days as winds were calm and rains unlikely during the next few days.
8: 10 pm: Apart from that the court had also directed them to “strictly” implement “in letter and spirit” the notifications issued by their respective governments under the Air Pollution Act banning such activity. It had ordered them to direct all the companies and public sector undertakings involved in power generation, board and rough paper manufacture, cement production and others, to collect the crop residue from farmers in exchange of money as part of their corporate social responsibility. If the companies do this, then the states or the Centre would not have to spend on prevention of stubble burning, the bench had said.
8: 05 pm: The Punjab government, meanwhile, has filed an affidavit before the court, claiming it has prohibited the indiscriminate burning of agricultural waste in the entire state. It also said it was complying with all the directions issued by the court in its September 22 order. The court, thereafter, asked the Delhi government and the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan to place before it the steps taken by them to comply with the order of September 22 and listed the matter for further hearing on November 13. The high court on September 22 had issued a slew of directions to the four neighbouring states to stop stubble burning, saying “we cannot have another gas chamber situation”.
7: 59 pm: The bench was hearing a PIL initiated by it in 2015 on the issue of poor air quality in the national capital. Senior advocate Kailash Vasdev, who is the amicus curiae in the matter, told the court that its orders were not being complied with and therefore, it was the time that action is taken against the concerned officials. The Centre, represented by advocate Ajay Digpaul, told the bench the Environment Ministry has held meetings with all stakeholders and the issue of stubble burning was reviewed. It also submitted that it was monitoring the burning of agricultural waste through satellite imagery provided by the respective state governments.
7: 54 pm: While bringing stubble burning to a complete halt “will take time”, the governments should at least try to enforce the regulations like mitigating construction dust generation, which can be done easily. It asked the Delhi government what preventive measures it has taken to address the problem of dust.
7: 48 pm: A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sanjeev Sachdeva said October to January was a “critical period” when the air quality in Delhi is poor due to the weather conditions. Stubble burning during this period acted as the “trigger” or is the “main villain” which leads the situation to deteriorate, it said. “This becomes critical at this time. It (air quality) is already loaded (with dust), but stubble burning is the trigger. It becomes the main villain,” the court said, adding that besides stubble burning, dust and construction debris also contribute towards the poor air quality.
7: 42 pm: Stubble burning is the “main villain” behind the severe level of pollution in Delhi and the neighbouring areas, the Delhi High Court said today, as it asked the AAP government and the neighbouring states what steps they have taken to address the issue.
7: 35 pm: Professor and head of pulmonary medicine at Safdarjang Hospital Dr J C Suri said inhalation of air toxins causes infections and swelling of the airway. “The immediate effects are cough, throat infections and pneumonia, but one can also develop lung cancer,” the doctor said. “Also, when pollution levels rise, the condition of those suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or asthma worsens,” he said.
7: 27 pm: Associate Professor of pulmonary medicine at AIIMS Dr Karan Madan said lungs of the elderly and children are less capable of handling such high levels of pollutants and thus they develop breathing difficulty. “And, it is not not just limited to lungs. It can also affect the cardio-vascular system and the brain,” he said.
7: 20 pm: AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, a renowned pulmonologist, termed the situation a “public health emergency” and stressed the need for initiating a movement to protect the environment. He advised the elderly, children and patients with respiratory and cardiac problems to avoid strenuous activity, which leads to inhalation of greater volumes of minute pollutants, early in the morning or late in the evening. “Pollutants get trapped closer to the ground when the temperature is low and there being no wind, it is in its peak, especially in the early morning and late evening hours. “It is better to go out when it’s bright and sunny,” he said.
7: 18 pm: Doctors in the national capital have advised residents to avoid stepping out or indulging in outdoor activities during the early morning and evening hours in view of “severe” levels of air pollution in the city.
7: 13 pm: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sought an appointment with Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan, which was denied as the latter was in Germany to attend a climate change summit.
7.04 pm: The minister appealed to the farmers not to burn stubble as it not only adversely affect the environment but also decrease land fertility.
7.02 pm: As Delhi recorded a sharp dip in its air quality today, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sought an appointment with Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, which was denied as the latter was in Germany to attend a climate change summit.
6.54 pm: A government official said the chief minister wanted to discuss with the Union minister the possible emergency measures required to bring down high pollution level. “The chief minister has sought time from Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan. However, his (Vardhan) office replied that he is not available and is out (of country). A meeting would be possible only on November 9,” the official said.
6.50 pm: The minister appealed to the farmers not to burn stubble as it not only adversely affect the environment but also decrease land fertility.
6.40 pm: He said the state’s pollution control board had found these farmers burning stubble and FIRs under relevant sections had been registered against 227 of them.
6.30 pm: In a lighter vein, many Twitter users referred to Diwali, when the bursting of crackers was banned as a move against pollution.
6.29 pm: As pollution levels breached permissible standards by multiple times, a spate of tweets followed.
6.26 pm: Delhi woke up to a blanket of dense haze which affected vehicular movement on the roads and left school-goers gasping for breath.
6.23 pm: Meanwhile, the world of Twitter has erupted with emotions — ranging from displeasure and concern to despair and humour — as a thick smog shrouded the national
capital, raising health and environmental worries.
6.19 pm: Doctors said long-term measures are needed in addition to masks. AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said there is not enough data on the efficacy of masks and stressed on the need for initiating a movement to protect the environment.
6.17 pm: As a choking blanket of smog enveloped the national capital today, a number of schools in Delhi suspended outdoor activities and advised parents to ensure their children wear masks.
6.15 pm: Even morning Assembly will not be convened in the schools.
6.14 pm: If required, odd even scheme may be back, says Manish Sisodia
6.12 pm: All primary schools will remain closed tomorrow, if needed will extend order till day after: Manish Sisodia, Delhi Minister
6.06 pm: The smog has added to the woes of people flying in and out of Delhi as the airport is operating at 70 per cent of its capacity because of maintenance work on one of its runways.
6.05 pm: PTI sources at the Indira Gandhi International Airport said that due to low visibility on the shorter runway 9/27, they could only use runway 10/28 in the morning
6.02 pm: According to officials of the India Meteorological Department, runway visibility between 7am and 8am was less than 200 metres and improved around 11am. “Due to air traffic congestion in Delhi, departure delays up to 90 minutes are expected at Delhi airport till 1500 hrs,” Jet Airways said in a tweet.
5.55 pm: EPCA instructed Delhi Metro to lower fares during off-peak hours for at least 10 days, introduce more coaches and frequent services.
5.50 pm: EPCA chairman Bhure Lal and member Sunita Narain announced a series of measures under the Graded Response Action Plan.
5.47 pm: Central Pollution Control Board member secretary A Sudhakar informed EPCA that smoke-laden air from neighbouring Punjab and Haryana and moisture-heavy winds from the eastern region had combined with local pollutants triggering the situation. “We are not expecting a dramatic change in the next two-three days. Shallow fog is preventing the dissipation of pollutants at the ground level,” Sudhakar said.
5.43 pm: Amongst the other measures, it directed a fine of Rs 50,000 on road construction agencies violating dust pollution norms in Delhi-NCR. The body asked the Delhi-NCR governments to start preparing for measures like odd-even and ban construction activities if pollution aggravates.
5.42 pm: The measures also include complete closure of brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers across the region till further notice.
5.41 pm: Parking fees in Delhi-NCR are set to quadruple while Metro fares during off-peak hours may be slashed temporarily as part of a series of measures recommended by Supreme Court mandated green body EPCA to tackle the pollution crisis.
5.39 pm: The Environment Pollution – Prevention and Control Authority said the national capital was facing a “crisis situation”, which is likely to persist for the next few days.
5.37 pm: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is currently convening an emergency meeting of Delhi Government.
5.35 pm: By 10 am today, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded ‘severe’ air quality, meaning the intensity of pollution was extreme.
5.34 pm: Arvind Kejriwal has also sought an appointment with Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan to discuss the alarming situation
5.33 pm: Delhi woke up to ‘severe’ air quality with a thick haze blanketing the city as pollution levels breached permissible standards by multiple times.
5.32 pm: Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) directs immediate enhancement of parking fee by four times
5.30 pm: Immediately intensify public transport service, by ensuring there are more buses on road, which are run with reliable service: EPCA
5.27 pm: Immediately increase frequency of srvc,incl deploying more coaches & intro of lower fares during off peak hrs during this severe period:EPCA
5.25 pm: Delhi Govt should start immediately preparing for imposition of some conditions, if weather and pollution conditions aggravate further: EPCA
5.24 pm: Conditions include-stopping entry of truck traffic into Delhi(except essential commodities).Delhi,Haryana,UP,Rajasthan start preps asap:EPCA
5.21 pm: Conditions also include introduction of odd-even scheme for private vehicles based on license plate numbers with minimal exceptions: EPCA
5.19 pm: 8000 masks distributed to CISF personnel involved in Metro security,5000 to those in Airport security and about 1000 to rest #delhipollution
5.17 pm: The green panel also directed the CPCB to state what emergency directions it has issued in excercise of its powers to tackle the situation.
5.12 pm: NGT today asked the state governments to explain why they had not taken preventive and precautionary measures as it was reported earlier that such a situation was likely to arise.
5.03 pm: The association has also urged organisers of the Delhi half marathon and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal seeking cancellation of Airtel Delhi Half Marathon because of the increased pollution levels in the air.
4.56 pm: The IMA stated that children, who play or exercise outdoors need more oxygen, so they take in more polluted air into their lungs, which hampers the growth of their lungs leading to breathing problems later on in life.
4.51 pm: The IMA mentioned in the letter that when Air Quality Index (AQI) levels cross 200, it is “generally advised” that time spent outdoors be restricted.
4.48 pm: In a letter to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, IMA National President Dr KK Aggarwal and the Secretary General Dr RN Tandon, said children are “especially at risk” in air quality ranging from ‘poor’ to ‘severe’.
4.41 pm: Kejriwal said on Twitter on Tuesday that his government had written to ministers in the neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana demanding an end to crop burning there, but that little had been done
4.37 pm: Air Pollution matter: Delhi High Court asks Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan to inform about action taken against stubble burning.
4.36 pm: Delhi HC observed “situation is grave in wake of advisories issued against sending children to school & discouraging morning walks by ppl”
4.34 pm: Delhi High Court observed “stubble burning may be the visible villain but there are other contributory factors too”
4.32 pm: The sharp drop in air quality is most dangerous for the elderly, children and those already suffering from respiratory ailments. Constant exposure to pollution also reduces lung functionality for healthy adults over a period of time.
4.28 pm: Over the past two years, New Delhi has earned the dubious distinction of being one of the world’s most polluted cities.
4.22 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has asked his deputy and Education Minister Manish Sisodia to consider shutting schools for a few days in view of the high pollution in the city.
4.18 pm: The readings of the government’s air quality index hovered between 350 and 450, indicating that the health impact of breathing the air was “severe.”
4.16 pm: The highest reading on the Central Pollution Control Board’s index is 500. The pollutants on Tuesday that had the maximum impact on the reading were PM 2.5 and PM 10 particulate matter.
4.13 pm: The readings of the government’s air quality index hovered between 350 and 450, indicating that the health impact of breathing the air was “severe.”
4.10 pm: A thick gray haze enveloped Delhi NCR on Tuesday as air pollution hit hazardous levels, prompting Arvind Kejriwal to ask schools to shut down. Formal decision is yet to be taken on this
4.00 pm: NGT seeks reply and action taken report from UP, Punjab, Haryana & Delhi by 9 November
3.55 pm: NGT seeks reply and action taken report from UP, Punjab, Haryana & Delhi by 9 November AirPollution
3.50 pm: NGT says it’s like emergency situation in Delhi, directs govts of UP, Punjab, Haryana & Delhi to inform preventive steps taken #AirPollution