'Severe' Delhi-NCR air emergency may dissipate over the weekend

Updated: Nov 03, 2019, 07:24 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

34 people arrested for allegedly violating the ban on construction activities imposed in the national capital

People cover their faces with masks in Delhi. Pic/PTI
People cover their faces with masks in Delhi. Pic/PTI

New Delhi: The severe air pollution causing health emergency in Delhi that has grabbed international headlines, may dissipate by Sunday as favourable weather conditions are forecast that may cause a slow recovery in its air quality index (AQI). The toxic haze covering Delhi's skies is that for three weeks stagnant conditions caused by the delayed withdrawal of the monsoon had caused a deterioration due to accumulation of pollutants. This impact is ending now, according to Safar India (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research), under the Ministry of Earth Sciences and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune.

While AQI in Delhi is in the severe plus category, the highest grade of computation at 435, the US Embassy was denoting a sharp improvement in PM 2.5 levels compared to the peak values on Friday of 454. On Saturday, the PM 2.5 count at 9 am had halved at 208, according to US Embassy data.

34 held for violating norms

A director and three engineers were among 34 people arrested on Saturday from sites of five real estate groups in Noida and Greater Noida for allegedly violating the ban on construction activities imposed in Delhi-NCR over an alarming spike in pollution, officials said. The crackdown on violators came a day after the Environment Pollution Authority, a panel mandated by the SC, declared a "public health emergency" in the Delhi-NCR and banned construction activity till November 5 in the region.

Merkel says to replace diesel buses

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose visit to Delhi coincided with the worst spells of pollution in the region, said the pollution presented a good argument for replacing buses run on diesel with those powered by electricity. "We will earmark Euros 200 million to reform the bus sector in Tamil Nadu. Whoever has looked at pollution would find good arguments to replace diesel buses with electric ones," she said.

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