Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. (ANI)
With Delhi's air quality remaining in the 'severe' category for the last four days, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the government may reintroduce the 'odd-even' car rationing scheme if the need arises. The city is facing its highest pollution level since Diwali. While the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data showed the overall air quality index (AQI) in the 'severe' category at 448, the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) showed an AQI of 468.
"We are taking a number of steps such as tree plantation drives and buying 3,000 buses. We have sanctioned one of the largest metro phases yesterday. If the need arises, we will implement the odd-even scheme. Each individual has to play a role in reducing pollution," said Kejriwal on Tuesday.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on air pollution:We're taking a no.of steps like tree plantation drives&buying 3000 buses etc.We sanctioned one of largest metro phases y'day.If the need arises, we'll implement the Odd-Even scheme.Each individual has to play a role in reducing pollution. pic.twitter.com/zI9DmTIuV9— ANI (@ANI) December 25, 2018
The 'severe' quality of air was attributed to wind speed and other meteorological factors remaining "highly unfavourable" for dispersion of pollutants.
The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) on Monday imposed a three-day ban on industrial activities in pollution hot-spots and construction work across the national capital region.
The unfavourable meteorological conditions are likely to keep the air quality in the 'severe' category for the next couple of days, authorities said. The major pollutants PM 2.5 were recorded at 338 and PM 10 at 225 (very poor category) in the RK Puram area on Tuesday. In Anand Vihar area, the Air Quality Index (AQI) PM 2.5 was at 358 and PM 10 at 259. At the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium area, PM 2.5 was at 309 and PM 10 at 300. AQI at Punjabi Bagh Delhi was recorded poor, PM 2.5 was at 349 while the PM 10 was at 222. This is the fourth time this season that the air quality here has worsened to severe category. The first time it dipped to the severe category this year was just two days before Diwali.
In some parts of Delhi, pollution levels hit 654 on Monday, among the worst recorded this year, and visibility in some parts of the city was 200 metres, according to the weather department.
On Monday, Union Environment Secretary CK Mishra said this was a "temporary phase" due to unfavourable weather conditions and measures were in "full swing" to tackle with Delhi pollution. "This is a temporary phase, largely because of meteorological conditions over Delhi and the surrounding areas. It is not as if the level of emissions has suddenly gone up," he said.
"It is just that dispersal (of pollutants) is not happening because of the meteorological conditions. Humidity, dew, no wind and temperature are combining to create this situation. Fortunately, this is a temporary phase and hopefully from December 26 it (wind speed)should pick up," he added.
(With PTI inputs)