New Delhi [India], Nov. 3: Union environment, forests and climate change minister Anil Madhav Dave on Thursday called for collective efforts to combat the pollution which has gripped the national capital post Diwali.
"It happens every year, we have to make collective efforts to make the situation better," Dave told ANI.
"We will also put forward a road map after discussion with concerned ministers," he added. Over the Diwali weekend of 2016, India's air quality was among the world's worst and between 40 percent and 100 percent worse in five north Indian cities than at the same time the preceding year, according to global air pollution data.
The amount of crackers Delhi burst has made the air unbelievably toxic to breathe in, the PM (particulate matter) 10 levels have reportedly gone up to 999, exceeding the safe limit by 10 times.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday directed Delhi Chief Secretary K.K. Sharma to hold an urgent meeting with all concerned authorities on the issue pollution. The NGT also directed Sharma to file a status report by tomorrow. For the past three days, Delhiites have been inhaling copious amounts of particulate matter (PM) - both 2.5 micrometers and 10 micrometers - composed of dust, dirt, smoke, chemicals, etc., a deadly combination which enters the blood stream through one's lungs and causes cancer.
As per System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), levels of Particulate Matter (PM) 10 levels reached a record 500 mark on Wednesday.
The city witnessed low visibility and smog throughout Wednesday evening and night. The reasons for this are a drop in wind speed and rise in humidity in the atmosphere. Such severe pollution levels can cause breathing problems, lung and heart diseases among many other ailments.
The rise in particulate matter has been attributed to fireworks on Diwali night, but this NASA image suggests that burning of crop stubble is considerably impacting the pollution levels.
Farmers in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana have been setting fire to paddy stubble in their fields after cultivating the crop as part of the slash and burn.