Delhi recorded its most polluted day of the year on Wednesday, December 23. Although the city has been battling rising pollution levels since long, such a sharp drop in air quality has raised health and environment concerns across NCR.
Experts believe that as temperatures continue to plummet, a lot of people resort to burning wood and dry leaves to fight the chilly winds of the season. Now, wide scale open biomass burning worsens air quality levels in the region.
The same pattern was observed during Diwali when air quality in the region plummeted to ‘severe’ level. However, marginal improvement followed during the first days of December. But Wednesday saw highest levels of suspended particulate matter in Delhi this year.
PM 2.5 levels, with a safe limit of 60, recorded an average of 295 across the city on December 23. Meanwhile, PM 10 levels with a safe limit of 100, touched 470 micrograms on an average. These figures were revealed by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
It’s a dicey situation to be honest. Despite an increased number of ‘relief shelters’ for the poor and needy this year, a good part of the Delhi population continues to struggle with freezing temperatures in the open. As a result, burning of biomass becomes a natural choice for security guards, labors, and others. Apart from this, other natural and human-induced factors too contribute to an increase in pollutants across the city.
Delhi government is pitching challenging reforms to counter the air pollution mess in the region. But with other unavoidable circumstantial activities running free, the government will have a hard time solving the air pollution conundrum. A growing opinion states that an ‘emergency’ based on severe air pollution levels be declared in Delhi before the situation gets out of control.
(Featured Image Credit: cbc.ca)