Delhi, the capital city of India, has begun resuming certain activities despite grappling with hazardous air quality and pollution in its rivers. Efforts to improve the situation have been undertaken by the government, but significant challenges remain.
Although the air quality index (AQI) has decreased from its peak, it still remains at a hazardous level. The AQI on Monday was recorded at 336, down from 509 on Thursday, according to Swiss group IQAir. This persistent pollution has prompted the closure of schools for almost two weeks, forcing children to wear masks on their way to school.
Meanwhile, the Yamuna river, a significant water source flowing through Delhi, has been tainted by a toxic foam. This foam, which originates from sludge and untreated waste, is being managed by the city’s water board through the use of a food-grade chemical. Former Delhi government advisor, Ankit Srivastava, clarified that while the foam is not fatal, it can cause illness if consumed.
In an attempt to mitigate air pollution, the Delhi government has revoked emergency measures put in place on November 5. Construction work on public infrastructure projects has been allowed to resume, albeit with restrictions on activities that generate air-borne dust. Additionally, wind speed is expected to increase over the next couple of days, which should help improve the air quality.
Concentrated efforts are needed to address the sources of the pollution. Vehicles, for instance, were found to be significant contributors to dangerous particles suspended in the air, particularly along major roads. A recent study conducted by experts collaborating with the Delhi government revealed that 51% of these particles, known as PM2.5, were emitted by vehicles. This highlights the urgent need for stricter regulations and measures to reduce vehicular emissions.
While there has been some improvement since November 5, PM2.5 levels still exceed the safe limit set by the World Health Organization. The average 24-hour safe limit is 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air, while levels in the National Capital Region have consistently remained above 128 micrograms since Sunday.
Tackling air pollution and river pollution requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach. It is crucial for the government, industries, and citizens to work together towards implementing sustainable solutions that will lead to cleaner air and healthier rivers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the current air quality index in Delhi?
A: The current air quality index (AQI) in Delhi is 336, which is classified as hazardous.
Q: How is the toxic foam in the Yamuna river being controlled?
A: The city’s water board is using a food-grade chemical to manage the toxic foam in the Yamuna river.
Q: What are the major contributors to air pollution in Delhi?
A: Vehicles are a major contributor to air pollution in Delhi, emitting significant levels of dangerous particles called PM2.5.
Q: Are PM2.5 levels within safe limits?
A: PM2.5 levels in the National Capital Region are above the safe limit set by the World Health Organization, indicating the need for further action to reduce pollution.
Q: What measures has the Delhi government taken to combat air pollution?
A: The Delhi government has lifted emergency measures and allowed construction work to resume with restrictions to control air-borne dust. Wind speed is also expected to increase, which will help improve air quality.