The air pollution levels in Delhi and its adjoining areas continue to remain in the 'severe' category for the third consecutive day despite the implementation of the Odd-Even scheme. The severity of the situation can be assessed by the sight of Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurugram, and Noida being engulfed by a thick blanket of smog on Friday morning, which also became a cause of reduced visibility on the roads that further caused problems to commuters.
The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital on Friday was recorded at 482 which falls under the 'Severe' category with PM10 being 504 and PM2.5 - 332, according to Center-run SAFAR. Further, the AQI recorded near Mathura Road in Delhi was 554 (PM10) at 9:00 am on Friday, while near the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, the AQI stood at 560 (PM10), Chandni Chowk recorded an AQI of 484 (PM10) and 488 ( PM2.5).
Residents have been complaining of breathlessness and suffocation during their morning walks. "Pollution has increased in Delhi in the past 2-3 days. It is very important for everyone to maintain fitness in this weather. I am wearing a mask for the very first time as the air has become toxic," said Dr. Ashish Gupta, a resident of Delhi. Meanwhile, another resident of the city, Kartar Singh stressed that people must also help in efforts to deal with the problem, "We should plant more trees and use public transport. If we will not take such steps, it will become worse in the coming years."
Moreover, residents of Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad and Noida complained of eye irritation and breathlessness due to dust particles in the air. "We go to the park for a run every day. But we are not able to exercise rigorously due to the spike in air pollution. Also, garbage is being burnt here because of which there is a lot of smoke that causes suffocation in the wee hours," said Ayush, a resident of Ghaziabad.
Vikrant Tripathi of Noida told ANI that his children were affected by air pollution and urged authorities to take necessary measures to deal with the problem, "More and more people are falling ill. My children are not able to go out. Some people residing in Noida are suffering from respiratory illness. The administration must do something."
In Gurugram too, people complained of fatigue and breathlessness while moving about outdoors. "The air has become very poisonous today. I have irritation in my eyes due to dust particles in the air. And I believe the condition will become worse in the coming days," said Raju Kumar from Gurugram.
On a related note, the Supreme Court recently criticised the Centre over deteriorating air quality in Delhi and asked the government to find a solution to the problem of air pollution. It asked the Centre to explore Hydrogen based fuel technology to find a solution to reduce air pollution in North India & Delhi-NCR. In reply to that, the Centre also told the Supreme Court that it is exploring technology, including that from Japan and is trying to tackle air pollution. Further, it has been decided that the Centre will submit a report on the issue by December 3.
During winter each year, most of northern India suffers from a spike in toxicity in the air due to the change in weather patterns and crop residue burning in the states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
(With ANI Inputs)