Delhi Pollution highlights: Once again Delhiites woke up under a thick cover of smog on Tuesday morning. Two days after Sri Lankan cricketers took to the field in Firoza Kotla stadium wearing anti-pollution masks, the air in the national capital turned fouler today with a sharp rise in the level of particulates since morning. The concentration of the most prominent pollutants, PM 10 and PM 2.5, reached ‘severe’ and ‘very poor’ category, respectively in Delhi’s Lodhi Road area. Pollution in the national capital region still remains a bouncer for policy. The area around India Gate also landed to ‘poor’ category on Air Quality Index. November witnesses extremely high levels of pollution as smoke from paddy residue burning reaches the city, aggravating the situation. However, there are phases, when such spikes are seen even during December and January, mostly due to rapid drop in temperature and high moisture content, factors that trap particulates near the surface. According to an IIT-Kanpur study, the sources of PM2.5 and PM10 during the winter months are: secondary particles like nitrates (25-30 per cent), vehicles (20-25 per cent), biomass burning (17–26 per cent), municipal solid waste burning (9-8 per cent) and to a lesser extent soil and road dust. This blog will keep track of latest developments on air pollution and its adverse effects on Delhi through the day:
9:10 pm: Pollution is considered severe plus or emergency when readings of PM2.5 and PM10 cross 300 and 500 ug/m3, respectively. The corresponding prescribed standards are 60 and 100.
8:45 pm: According to the Central Control Room for Air Quality Management of the CPCB, the concentration of the most dominant pollutants, PM2.5 and PM10, were 261 and 438 ug/m3 around 5 pm.
8:30 pm: At RK Puram, a densely populated residential area, NO2 was recorded at 135 ug/m3 while levels at ITO, which witnesses heavy volume of traffic, was 206.
8:15 pm: The concentration of NO2 breached the 24-hour safe limit of 80 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3) in areas like Dilshad Garden, ITO, Mandir Marg, Anand Vihar and R K Puram.
8:01 pm: The haze did not disrupt the proceedings of the ongoing test match between India and Sri Lanka at the Feroz Shah Kotla, however, the Lankans wore N95 anti-pollution masks while fielding.
7:45 pm: The city’s average Air Quality Index (AQI) was 378 on a scale of 500, classified as ‘very poor’, marginally better than yesterday’s 390.
7:30 pm: The United Nations marked the day as the first international smog day. It is a moment to remember all of the people who have died prematurely, and avoidably, because of the air pollution, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said in a statement.
7:15 pm: Air quality in Delhi, ‘very poor’ since November 23, remained unchanged today, with high-level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) across residential areas heightening the toxicity of the haze.
6:45 pm: Information Commissioner Yashovardhan Azad had pointed out that in spite of specific queries with respect to the PUC certificates and also marking the RTI query correctly to the branch, no effort was made to attend to the query in the manner envisioned by the RTI Act.
6:20 pm: He had also asked for total licence fee collected by the transport department in the last five financial years. Not getting any satisfactory response, he filed a complaint with the Commission.
5:54 pm: On January 18 this year, an RTI applicant Deepak Juneja had sought from the transport department information about the number of PUC certificates issued for different class of vehicles in Delhi and the number of petrol/CNG and Diesel PUC testing centres.
5:30 pm: Slamming officials for exhibiting “sheer indifference” their duty, the CIC has directed the department “to compile and publish” annual data about PUC certificates issued by it to motor vehicles after verifying that they meet emission and pollution control norms.
4:53 pm: Pollution may be at critically high levels in the city but the Delhi government’s transport department does not have any annual data related to the number of “Pollution Under Control (PUC)” certificates issued by it, the Central Information Commission has lamented.
4:45 pm: The tribunal chairperson, Justice Swatanter Kumar, in his remarks rapped the authorities for permitting India-Sri Lanka Test match in the city despite bad air quality.
4:19 pm: The National Green Tribunal on Monday pulled up the Delhi government for its “lackadaisical” approach over rising pollution levels in the city.
3:54 pm: Smog during the winter in Delhi and nearby areas is a curse for people, especially frequent flyers. Train and flight services get hit severely because of smog. Flights getting delayed or cancelled are common affairs during this time.
3:19 pm: BCCI’s rotation policy might do what Sri Lankan cricket team’s complaints of poor air quality could not, which is to keep international cricket away from Delhi at least till 2020. Delhi viability as an international sports venue has been questioned after Sri Lankan players complained of breathing problems due to smog and continued to wear anti-pollution masks in the ongoing third Test against India at Ferozshah Kotla.
2:50 pm: The smog in the national capital and surrounding areas has become alarming in last two years, creating doubt on the future of sports events.
2: 33 pm: The tribunal had on November 28 asked the AAP government and four neighbouring states- Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to submit an action plan on tackling pollution. It had earlier directed the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and every state pollution control boards to file ambient air quality analysis before the tribunal on monthly basis and also put up on their websites to enable the concerned authority to take effective steps to control air pollution.
2: 26 pm: The bench said that the pollution in the city has already reached alarming levels yet the government was adopting a “lackadaisical” approach in dealing with the situation. The green panel was also irked by authorities for conducting the third Test between Sri Lanka and India yesterday which was disrupted due to the choking smog.
2: 10 pm: The tribunal, however, directed the government to file the report within the next 48 hours. “Where is your action plan? Why have you not submitted it? What can we do if you keep on changing everybody? It’s not our problem if people don’t want to stick to you.” “You keep on doing meetings but tell us a single action or step you have taken in the last four days to combat air pollution,” the bench said.
2: 01 pm: A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar took exception over the failure of the AAP government to file the report despite its specific order on Monday. During the hearing , the Delhi government said it needed more time to file the action plan as the chief secretary and environment secretary have been recently changed.
1: 42 pm: Amid degrading air quality, fast bowler Suranga Lakmal vomited on the ground on Tuesday as New Delhi’s pollution again took centre stage during the third Test between India and Sri Lanka.
1: 35 pm: Doordarshan has shared SAFAR data showing poor air quality in National capital overall-
— Doordarshan News (@DDNewsLive) December 5, 2017
1: 15 pm: Air quality in Delhi worsened today and inched closer to the ‘severe’ category with a sharp rise in the level of particulates through the day, according to official data.
12: 32 pm: Meanwhile, in the view of alarming pollution, the BCCI on Monday said scheduling of matches in pollution-mired Delhi will be “considered” in future after Sri Lanka’s cricket team complained of poor air quality during the ongoing third Test against India here.
12: 16 pm: On Monday, air quality index in Ghaziabad was recorded at 467 µg/m3, while it was 415 µg/m3 in Noida — both in the severe range. Ghaziabad, in fact, has been severely polluted for a week now. The concentration of PM 2.5 at 7 pm on Monday was 218 µg/m3. According to the forecast, the PM 2.5 concentration on Tuesday would be at 227 µg/m3, and is expected to be 236 µg/m3 on Wednesday. The prescribed standard for PM 2.5 is 60 µg/m3.
11: 59 am: Smog during the winter in Delhi-NCR is a curse for people, especially for those who want to fly-in or fly-out of the national capital. Train and flight services get hit severely by this.
11: 50 am: Referring to the India-Sri Lanka Test match, which was stalled on Sunday after Lankans were said to have complained to match officials that they felt like vomiting due to poor air quality, the court said: “Look at people abandoning (the) match.”
11: 43 am: Meanwhile, the Delhi government sought more time on the contention that its Chief Secretary and environment secretary were recently changed and the new officers needed to settle down to finalize the plan. But the court apparently was not impressed with the reason.
11: 28 am: A visual from smog over Rajpath:
11: 21 am: In the wake of rising air pollution, NGT had earlier directed the Central Pollution Control Board , Delhi Pollution Control Committee and all other pollution control boards to submit a report on air quality analysis before the NGT on a monthly basis. It also asked these boards to upload these report on their respective websites so as to make the concerned authorities take stringent action to curb air pollution.
11: 15 am: The humidity at 8.30 a.m. was recorded at 84 per cent and the visibility stood at 700 metres. Monday’s minimum temperature settled at 8.3 degrees Celsius, a notch below the season’s average, and maximum temperature was recorded at 23.5 degrees Celsius, a notch below the season’s average.
11: 04 am: The MeT has predicted a generally cloudy day ahead. “There was shallow fog in the morning. The sky is likely to remain generally cloudy with the maximum temperature likely to hover around 22 degrees Celsius,” the India Meteorological Department said.
11: 00 am: Around 14 trains were cancelled and 19 were delayed due to fog in several parts of northern India, while two trains were rescheduled.
10: 52 am: The weather office was quoted as saying that it was a foggy morning on Tuesday with the minimum temperature recorded at 13.7 degrees Celsius, five notches above the season’s average.
10: 42 am: Meanwhile, in the 3rd test match of India vs Sri Lanka, some players of Sri Lankan team seen playing with masks on.
10: 37 am: Everyday around 500 personnel will undergo various diagnostic tests at the camp. Yesterday, 516 personnel underwent lung-related and bone density tests among others.
10: 30 am: Following the launch of a three-day health camp yesterday, the police said in a statement that the traffic personnel are exposed to harsh weather conditions, dust, pollution, heat and cold. These can have an adverse effect on their health.
10: 18 am: In the wake of severe air pollution in the national capital, Delhi Traffic Police personnel have been advised by doctors to adopt a healthy lifestyle and wear pollution masks while on duty in view of current weather conditions.
10: 15 am: Addressing the media at Delhi Congress office, Tharoor, who is also head of the Professional’s Congress, said: “How bad the air pollution has become in Delhi was evident from the fact that the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team not only found the going tough, but they could not field even 11 players in the ongoing Test match against India at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground.”
10: 10 am: The white paper was prepared at the direction of party’s Delhi unit President Ajay Maken by the Delhi chapter of the Professionals’ Congress, with the help of experts and members of various chapters across the country to look into feasible short and long-term measures to deal with air pollution crisis.
9: 59 am: On Sunday, the air pollution in Delhi had worsened and forced interruptions during an international cricket match in the city. The average index value on Sunday was 351, significantly better than Monday’s 390.
9: 55 am: As per the report, the Central Pollution Control Board recording 378 on its index at 8 am. This was slightly better than Monday afternoon, when the air quality deteriorated to 390.
9: 50 am: Air quality in Delhi has been hovering between the ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ categories but was not ‘severe’ since November 13. The AQI levels in the capital was recorded in the ‘severe’ zone for seven days between November 7 and November 13.
9: 40 am: Delhi has the right to breathe clean air but neither the Centre nor the Delhi government was “doing enough” to promote that right, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today said, as he launched a white paper on air pollution in the capital.
9: 33 am: The National Green Tribunal came down heavily on the Delhi government for not filing a comprehensive action plan on ways to deal with severe air pollution in the city and slammed authorities for holding the India-Sri Lanka cricket match despite bad air quality.
9: 30 am: Early morning visual from Delhi’s India Gate, where air quality is under ‘poor’ category.
9: 25 am: Air Quality of Delhi’s Lodhi Road area, prominent pollutants PM 10 and PM 2.5 in ‘severe’ and ‘very poor’ category respectively, reported ANI.