Blanket of haze: Northern region feels the sting of air pollution - The Tribune India

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Blanket of haze

Northern region feels the sting of air pollution

Blanket of haze

Photo for representation. Reuters file photo



Delhiites have been suffering ‘very poor’ to ‘severe’ air quality for the past week, with an AQI (Air Quality Index) of 402 recorded on Thursday evening by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). It set in motion stage III of GRAP (Graded Response Action Plan) in the NCR, with restrictions on construction activity and vehicular movement and primary schools switching to the online mode. The suffocating, hazy weather conditions caused by the cumulative effect of dust-producing construction work, vehicular emissions and stubble burning, along with slow wind movement, have, unfortunately, become an annual affair, even as preventive and punitive measures remain ineffective.

Hearing a petition on Wednesday with regard to improving the forest cover in the city, the Delhi High Court was alarmed to note that nearly one in every three children in Delhi was battling asthma or airflow obstruction due to air pollution. The HC laid the responsibility of improving the AQI on the authorities, warning that if the encroachment on 300 hectares of forest land — which had deprived the residents of clean air — was not addressed (by eco-restoration), it would hold the officials concerned in contempt.

Pertinently, residents of many other cities in the North are breathing toxic air. As per the CPCB data of Wednesday, the air of seven cities was worse than Delhi’s (364). With an AQI of 414, Hanumangarh in Rajasthan was the most polluted town in the country, followed by Fatehabad (410) and Hisar (403) in Haryana. It was observed that Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and half of western Rajasthan had AQI in the range of ‘poor’, ‘very poor’ or ‘severe’. The North has been feeling the sting of air pollution with a spike in cases of asthma, cough, watery eyes and breathing problems. How long will this continue?

#Environment #Pollution


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