Presenting, New Delhi: Post-Diwali, Delhi’s pollution monitors failed to fully capture the catastrophically high PM2.5 levels | Image credit: Reuters

310 people arrested as Delhi violates Supreme Court order

Delhi residents defied Supreme Court order limiting bursting of crackers between 8pm to 10pm, even as air quality plummeted to an all time low. Delhi-NCR air quality index plummeted to ‘hazardous’ as the PM 2.5 level hit 2000 in the north campus. The density of fine pollutants reached 1665 in a central Delhi locality whereas the safe limit is 25.

More than 300 people were arrested for flouting SC order. People were seen wearing air pollution mask while simultaneously bursting fire crackers on the eve of Diwali. As an emergency measure, the entry of medium- and heavy-goods vehicles was temporarily banned in Delhi-NCR. Besides Delhi, 41 other cities across north and central India also recorded ‘poor’ to ‘severe’ air quality levels post Diwali.

Top Court appointed panel: allow only CNG vehicles on Delhi roads

Drastic measures for desperate situation, as the capital’s air continues to be ‘severely polluted’, the Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution Control and Prevention Authority (EPCA) has asked Central Pollution Control Board to ban all vehicles, except those running on CNG, in the capital.

Cancerous levels of Benzene found in Delhi’s air

Delhi’s air quality went off the charts with a PM 2.5 level of 945 µg/m3 (Fulbright House, November 5, Monday, 6 am). The WHO’s limit is 25 µg/m^3. Benzene (cancer-causing) levels on October 31 touched 23 µg/m3 (the acceptable limit 5 µg/m3), when Delhi was choc-o-bloc with traffic on account of Diwali preparations.. According to a study by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute for Delhi, diesel engine exhaust contributes to 26%-58% of total benzene; 14%-23% comes from vehicle exhaust; 10-18% from evaporative exhaust; and the rest from auto repair, degreasing and natural gas.

Air in India’s capital a death sentence, say doctors

Doctors said breathing Delhi air is “like a death sentence…like smoking 20 cigarettes a day.”  While executive search companies said top officers were avoiding jobs in toxic Delhi-NCR and seeking jobs in other metros such as Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru

Not enough staff to file criminal cases, says India’s top pollution control body

India’s Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) chief Bhure Lal said they don’t have enough staff to file cases or take violators to court. He also said it is hard to ban polluting vehicles without easily identifiable fuel-specific stickers, which the EPCA is in the process of issuing. Campaigners said the EPCA has the power to file criminal cases, but it is “reluctant to act”

At WHO, India commits to undertaking definite pollution reduction

India will bring down particulate matter pollution, in “definite percentage terms by 2024”. The country made the pledge at the recently held first Global Air Pollution and Health Conference by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva. The target, which will be officially announced soon, is expected to be around 30% from current levels. Meanwhile, WHO announced a global target of reducing air pollution related deaths by 2/3rd by 2030.

Emissions from diesel vehicles linked to obesity in children

According to new research, exposure to air pollution from vehicles during infancy increases the risk of children becoming obese. High levels of nitrogen dioxide, emitted by diesel engines, in the first year of life led to significantly faster weight gain later, scientists found. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that 90% of the world’s children are breathing unsafe air.

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