Toxic smog blankets Delhi despite slight rain

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A thick blanket of smog covered the Delhi skyline despite light showers in different parts of the city early this morning. Although the mild spell led to a marginal drop in the Air Quality Index (AQI), the pollution levels continued to remain in “severe category”, with the Air Quality Index (AQI) measuring 447 at 9 am. The ‘odd-even’ rule, which is aimed at controlling the pollution, will come into effect from November 4 and extend till November 15.
Pollution levels at ITI Shahdra near the Jhilmil Industrial Area remained the worst, measuring 889 at 9 am, while RK Puram recorded 749 on Air Quality Index. The quality of air near the US Embassy was reported to be hazardous.

The pollution levels in neighboring areas of Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram, Faridabad also recorded between severe to hazardous readings with PMs ranging from 400 to 709.

On Friday the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) declared a public health emergency across the National Capital Region after pollution levels entered into “emergency” category for the first time since January. Shut in Delhi, which opened after Diwali, have been shut till Tuesday to minimise exposure of children to pollution.

Delhi air quality plummeted post-Diwali, which Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said was the “lowest in five years”. Mr Kejriwal has urged the centre to address the matter, saying air pollution “is a North India issue” and therefore requires a North India solution under the “chairmanship” of the Union Minister.

Mr Kejriwal recently asked students to write a letter to his Punjab and Haryana counterparts over pollution caused due to stubble burning, starting a blame game between his government and neighbouring states. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar was also dragged into the matter with Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accusing him of postponing meetings with state environment ministers despite the urgency of the situation.

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