The Smog Returns: How Delhi turned into a ‘gas chamber’ again in last 72 hours – 10 points

Here’s everything that has happened so far in the past few days in Delhi that led to a choking Delhi

The air quality started deteriorating rapidly as October ended. (File image for representation)

Air pollution and smog in Delhi: As November ensues, pollution and smog starts to choke Delhi, and like clockwork, the situation is back this year as well. The air quality started deteriorating rapidly as October ended and November commenced, and even before Diwali, the quality of air in the national capital was very poor. Here’s everything that has happened so far in the past few days in Delhi that led to a choking Delhi.

  1. Towards the end of October, the air quality in Delhi was recorded in the upper level of ‘poor’ category and back then, the sub-committee on Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) said that Delhi and NCR authorities should look at stopping the use of diesel generator sets, while also increasing the frequency of public modes of transportation like buses and metros.
  2. The temperatures started to dip suddenly in the last week of October, along with an increase in moisture, which made it difficult for the pollutants to disperse. This contributed to more visibility of smog and pollution in the air.
  3. Delhi, meanwhile, implemented a blanket ban on firecrackers during the festive season, up to January 2022, so that bursting of crackers did not lead to a sudden spike in smoke and pollution.
  4. Two days before Diwali, the air quality in Delhi entered the red zone for the first time this year, going into ‘very poor’. Founder project director of SAFAR, Gufran Beig had said that in this pollution, only 6% of PM2.5 pollutants in Delhi were contributed by stubble burning while rest of the pollution was due to local sources. These local sources, though not elaborated upon, could be vehicular as well as industrial pollution.
  5. On the day of the Diwali, though there was a blanket ban on crackers, towards the end of the night, many areas of the national capital reported incidents of firecrackers being burst. The air quality entered the “severe” category.
  6. On Friday morning, the air quality continued to remain in severe quality, with visibility going severely down. Images show even the Akshardham Temple’s main building hiding beneath a thick layer of smog when seen from the boundary of the temple premises.
  7. According to experts, the high smog was due to a mix of several unfavourable conditions, like calm winds, low temperature and low mixing height. These, they said, were augmented by pollutants released from firecrackers, stubble burning and local sources.
  8. Experts expect that the city will find relief from the pollution only from November 7, but the air quality is still expected to lurk in the “very poor” category.
  9. However, an unexpected relief was witnessed on Saturday, when higher wind speed caused some of the pollutants to flush out, leading to a slightly improved air quality.
  10. Apart from this, the Delhi government also carried out water spraying in several parts of the national capital to settle down dust and pollution while also stopping construction works that are being carried out in violation of the government order.

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