Delhi saw 29 ‘red alert’ days in Nov: Greenpeace

The Capital’s air quality was so poor in November last that 29 of the 30 days in the month would have qualified as ‘red alert’ days, going by the pollution warning system China follows.

On Monday, Beijing issued this season’s first red alert, which means that the level of coarse particulate matter (PM10) was more than 350 micrograms per cubic metre and was predicted to last for three consecutive days.

As per an analysis of the National Air Quality Index by Greenpeace India, Delhi would have had 33 such days in the 91 days from September to November, with 29 of them in November alone. The levels of PM10 have peaked at a whopping 14 times the standard of 100 micrograms per cubic metre, with the Anand Vihar monitoring station recording 1,433 micrograms per cubic metre earlier this week.

When a red alert is issued in China, polluting industries are shut down, stringent controls over vehicular pollution are enacted and schools are shut. Activists have been demanding that India adopt a similar system to disseminate data.

“We have monitoring stations and the data is available on the government’s sites. But, the average citizens are not aware of the data. There is a need for an alarm system,” said Sunil Dahiya, a campaigner for Greenpeace India.

Mr. Dahiya added that the government’s own data showed that air quality in many North Indian cities was worse than that in Beijing.

“We can no longer deny that we are in a state of crisis, and equally, that this crisis creates the imperative to come up with policies to put an end to India’s air pollution crisis,” said Mr. Dahiya. Environmentalists say there is a need for a long-term national and regional action plans to curb pollution. Plans should include a shift from fossil fuels to green energy.

“The Delhi Government’s car rationing policy and move to shut down power plants will reduce pollution, but we need to move to renewable energy,” said Mr. Dahiya.

Lauri Myllyvirta, a global campaigner with Greenpeace East Asia, added that the measures to control pollution over the past few days in Beijing helped mitigate the effect of this red alert episode.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 12:34:44 AM |

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