A public health emergency has been declared in Delhi and nearby areas by the pollution control body mandated by the Supreme Court. The region has been struggling with rising air pollution levels in since Diwali.
Staff Reporter / New Delhi
A public health emergency has been declared in Delhi and nearby areas by the pollution control body mandated by the Supreme Court. The region has been struggling with rising air pollution levels since Diwali.
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, EPCA has restricted all construction work in Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida, Ghaziabad and Greater Noida and all coal-based industries in Faridabad, Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Greater Noida, Sonipat, Panipat, Bahadurgarh and Bhiwadi will remain closed till 5th November.
Also bursting of crackers are banned during the winter season and Hot mix plants, stone crushers will be closed till 5th Nov in all NCR districts,as the pollution level in the region entered the “severe plus” or “emergency” category late Thursday night, the first time since January.
Faced with the city turning into what he called a “gas chamber” and in accordance with the GRAP, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government had decided to shut all schools till November 5. The odd-even scheme comes into force on November 4 for a fortnight.
“Please write letters to Captain uncle and Khattar uncle and say, ‘Please think about our health’,” he said in a message to children, referring to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Haryana’s M L Khattar.
The chief minister also met EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal and assured him of all cooperation in implementing the GRAP.
In a letter to the chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Lal sounded a warning.
“The air quality in Delhi and NCR deteriorated further last night and is now at the severe-plus level. We have to take this as a public health emergency as it will have adverse health impacts on all, particularly our children,” he wrote.
Under these circumstances, he said, construction activities, hot mix plants and stone crushers in Delhi, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida will remain closed till November 5.
Earlier, the EPCA had banned construction activities only for the period between 6 pm and 10 am till November 2. Now, no construction can take place even in daytime.
EPCA directed that all coal and other fuel-based industries, which have not shifted to natural gas or agro-residue, will remain shut in places such as Faridabad, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Noida, Bahadurgarh and Bhiwadi till November 5.
Besides affecting lungs, high levels of pollutants in the atmosphere cause inflammation in blood vessels and may lead to hardening of arteries which can act as a trigger for stroke or heart attack in persons already at risk of the disease. Guleria explained.
In Delhi, industries which have not yet shifted to piped natural gas, will not operate during the period, it said. The panel also asked schools to curtail all outdoor activities and sports till November 5 “People have also been advised to not exercise in the open till the pollution level reduces and special care should be taken of the children, aged and vulnerable population,” Lal wrote.
As air pollution reached alarming levels, hospitals reported a surge in the number of patients suffering from respiratory and breathing complications.