Delhi woke up to a smog-filled morning on Tuesday. The National Capital also experienced sharp drop in the air quality index. According to the Air Quality Index (AQI) data, major pollutants PM 2.5 at 214 and PM 10 at 211 both in 'Poor' category in Lodhi Road area on Tuesday. With this, the action plan to fight pollution has come into force from Tuesday. On Sunday, it turned "very poor" with the overall Air Quality Index going beyond the 300 mark. On Monday, it improved by around 50 points but the situation has continued to oscillate between poor and very poor.
"Delhi's air quality was recorded in the 'satisfactory' category till October 2 and in the 'moderate' category till October 9. It turned poor for the first time in the season on Thursday. Last year, the city's air quality had turned very poor on October 7," an official said. As part of the Graded Response Action Plan, which was first implemented in Delhi-NCR in 2017, diesel gensets, brick kilns and stone crushers have been banned.
Last month on September 13, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that the third edition of the road rationing scheme would be implemented from November 4 to November 15 as part of measures to combat high-level air pollution caused due to stubble burning in neighbouring states during winters. Earlier, a fine of Rs 2,000 had been imposed on the violators of the rule. During the scheduled 12-day scheme, vehicles will ply alternately on odd and even dates as per their registration numbers. In addition to this, CNG vehicles along with a VVIPs such as the President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India among others as well. Emergency vehicles are also exempted from this rationing scheme.
Delhi has been battling severe air pollution in recent times. In January this year, Delhi was designated as the most polluted city in the world. Pollution levels hit 500 in some parts of Delhi, and there was very poor visibility in some areas. Last year the high was 450 on 23 December. India is home to the world’s 14 most polluted cities, with Delhi the sixth worst, the World Health Organization has said. Toxic air caused 1.24 million deaths in India in 2017, or 12.5% of the total, according to a study published in Lancet Planetary Health.