Ahead of Diwali, Delhi's Air Quality continues to alarm citizens

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Delhi's pollution level dipped slightly on Friday as stubble burning remained marginally low but authorities warned that the air quality would severely deteriorate from next week. It's an issue that we have created ourselves and are reaping issues of what we've sowed.

Noting that private vehicles contribute to 40 per cent pollution in Delhi-NCR, the EPCA urged people to reduce use of private vehicles during this period and use public transport or other means.

Scaling up WHO's own Air Pollution programme, globally, regionally and in countries, including through establishment of a Trust Fund with other partners on climate, environment and health, which could access climate and environment finance directly.

Weathermen have advised caution for residents of Delhi as the city's Air Quality Index (AQI) continue to score below "severe" category after breaching the 400 mark.

Under the Environment Protection Act, there is a provision enabling regulatory agencies such as the CPCB and state pollution boards to proceed with criminal prosecution in such matters.

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Despite two of these areas having been declared high priority areas more than a decade ago - with the sole goal of reducing air pollution to fall within acceptable standards - air pollution remains high and at deadly exposure levels for human health. As emergency measures are being taken to check pollution in Delhi-NCR, the government has banned diesel and petrol vehicles ranging from 10 to 15 years old.

Following the direction from the EPCA, the DPCC notified Delhi Development Authority, Navratna Central Public Sector, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Delhi Transport Corporation, National Highway Authority of India, India Meteorological Department, New Delhi Municipal Council, South Delhi Municipal Council, East Delhi Municipal Council and Public Works Department to enforce these measures.

The politics over pollution also intensified, as Ministers from neighbouring states quality skipped a crucial meeting called by Union Ministry, with the Delhi government claiming the latter to be "not serious". On Sunday, the PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) level was recorded at 106, while the PM10 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres) was recorded at 198.

The center-run System of Air Quality Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) attributed "heavy stubble burning in the last 24 hours and calm winds as the reason behind the further deterioration of air capital".

As per the CPCB data, the PM10 level in Delhi stood at 368. We might have to stop the functioning of private cars if air pollution increases in the city.

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