#DelhiChokes: Health emergency declared in Delhi, schools to remain shut as air quality plunges into ‘severe’ category

The blanket of haze over Delhi thickened on Friday morning with the national capital’s pollution levels increasing overnight. The air quality index was 498 in Delhi’s Anand Vihar. With this, the AQI has entered the ‘severe plus’ or ‘emergency’ category. The South Delhi Municipal Education Department has issued a circular which states that due to prevailing poor air quality (smog) in Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi the competent authority has ordered the closure of all schools till Monday, November 04

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Image courtesy: Twitter

On Friday morning, Delhi residents woke up to a thick blanket of smog and haze. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality has entered into the severe category. While Delhi has witnessed such conditions since the last few days, it is expected that the situation will deteriorate further in the coming days.

The number of masked faces continued to grow as the city remained shrouded in a pungent haze for the fourth consecutive day. When the air quality drops into the severe category, it begins to affect healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases.

Air quality in the national capital saw a sharp dip after Diwali celebrations and has been deteriorating gradually as stubble burning continues in parts of Punjab and Haryana despite a ban.

According to the CPCB website, air quality is predicted to dip further. In its forecast for Saturday, November 02, the Central Pollution Control Board has stated that the air quality will remain in the very poor to severe category. The air quality will hover between 400 to 600 points, with places such as Sector 62 – Noida being worst-affected.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Salil Bendre, Head, Pulmonary Medicine, Nanavati Hospital, informed, “The severe pollution can likely cause allergic bronchitis. Airways are likely to swell up due to severe air pollution. Also, people can suffer from asthma, cough and, chest related ailments. In this scenario, the oxygen level in the body dips which affects the carbon dioxide levels as well.”

“Pollution can harm school children and youngsters a lot. So, people should refrain from venturing at those places where pollution is severe. They should use masks and take steam inhalation to protect themselves,” he added.

Image courtesy: Twitter
Image courtesy: Twitter

Parents are worried, as health experts say children breathe faster, taking in more pollutants. The Delhi government started distributing 50 lakh N95 masks for tackling smog, among school students in Delhi on Friday, November 01. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal began to distribute masks to schoolchildren today.

In a tweet, he stated:

The Twenty20 International (T20I) between India and Bangladesh is scheduled to be played at Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi on Sunday, November 3 despite the alarming air pollution levels.

Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly had confirmed that the match in Delhi will go ahead as planned.

When asked whether the match in Delhi would take place, Ganguly replied: “Yes, it will.”

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Image courtesy: Twitter

The air quality in Delhi is getting worse day-by-day. And, reports suggest, that it is likely to take a plunge to dangerous levels over the next few days. Many environmentalists are concerned whether it is feasible to host a cricket match in such conditions.

Image courtesy: Twitter
Image courtesy: Twitter

Air Quality Index in the range of 0-50 is considered ‘good’ with minimal impacts on health, While air quality index between 101-200 is considered moderate and it causes breathing discomfort to people with asthma and heart diseases. Air quality between 301- 400 is very poor and can cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure. Whereas air quality between 401- 500 is considered severe and can affect healthy people and seriously impact those with existing diseases.

As the #DelhiAirQuality and #DelhiChokes began trending on Twitter, many citizens of Delhi took to the social media platform to vent their frustration:

Ghaziabad has been the most polluted city in India for three days in a row, according to Thursday’s Daily Air Quality Index (AQI) Bulletin from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).#DelhiChokes #DelhiAirQuality #DelhiSmog

Read: https://t.co/oMz8vPEUmw

Photo: BCCL pic.twitter.com/VRH2Tz9vs0

— The Weather Channel India (@weatherindia) November 1, 2019