Delhi air pollution: Arvind Kejriwal convenes emergency meetingtext_fields
Shortly after the Supreme Court questioned the Delhi government on a possible two day lockdown due to poor air quality in the capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for an emergency meeting with government officials to discuss an action plan to deal with alarming levels of air pollution. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Health Minister Satyendar Jain, Environment Minister Gopal Rai and the Chief Secretary will be attending the meeting.
The Delhi government admitted in court that breathing in Delhi's air right now was like smoking 20 cigarettes, saying that it had taken steps to negotiate with Punjab and Haryana to stop the burning of stubble it said was contributing to the issue. However the Supreme Court bench also posed tough questions on what the government was doing to tackle other sources of pollution.
The Air Quality Index in Delhi has hit 470/500 according to the Central Pollution Control Board which has prompted the government to warn citizens to stay indoors especially if they have pre-existing health conditions. In a circular late on Friday, the board said the government and private offices should reduce the use of private transport by 30 per cent and advised the city's residents to limit outdoor exposure.
Normally schools and offices would also be shut and odd-even restrictions imposed on the use of private vehicles on roads.
"Meteorological conditions will be highly unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants till November 18, 2021 in view of low winds with calm conditions during the night," the board said.
Stubble burning, coal-fired plant emissions, garbage burning and other pollutants seasonally contribute to Delhi's air quality woes which have earned the national capital a place in the rankings of cities with worst air pollution. Concentrations of PM 2.5 particulate matter which can travel deep into the lungs average 329 mg per cubic meter of air whereas the permitted safe level is 60 mg.