Delhiites, the 40 million people living in the capital, have been worried about the poor air quality and toxic smog since Diwali. The problem has been exacerbated due to the stubble burning in neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. So much so that a public health emergency has been declared and citizens are protesting for their #RightToBreathe.
Over the weekend, the air quality index breached the 999 mark which essentially means that the pollution level is similar to smoking 40-50 cigarettes a day.
According to News18, the government has taken several steps to tackle the situation apart from the odd-even scheme that begins today. Construction work has been banned, government schools have been asked to remain closed, the CISF is distributing anti-pollution masks to security personnel deployed at the airport, metro stations and government offices.
Air quality in Delhi at midday 999 … AKA a top-coding problem where the machines can't measure the pollution. Remember the moment in Chernobyl when the dosimeters go phut. pic.twitter.com/HBUo6sR7CJ
— Patrick French (@PatrickFrench) November 3, 2019
NDTV reports that Punjab CM Amarinder Singh has fined 2,923 farmers in the state for contributing to the problem. Hindustan Times reports that The Directorate General of Health Service (DGHS) also issued a health advisory for the general public. Here are the do’s and dont’s.
— Times of India (@timesofindia) November 3, 2019
- Remain indoors, or reschedule outdoor activities.
- Consult the nearest doctor in case of breathlessness, giddiness, cough, chest discomfort or pain, irritation in eyes (red or watery).
- Persons with airway, lung or heart illnesses should keep their medication readily available.
- If using masks, use certified N95 masks and follow user instructions. Simple paper and cloth masks are not effective.
- Continue use of clean smokeless fuel gas or electricity for cooking and heating purpose.
- Use public transportation
- Don’t burn leaves, wood, agriculture products, garbage.
- Don’t go to places with heavy traffic and areas near polluting places, construction sites, etc.
- Don’t go for morning and late evening walks, run, jog and physical exercise.
- Don’t open doors and windows during the morning and late evenings.
- Don’t smoke cigarettes, bidis and related tobacco products.
- Avoid driving cars, scooters and other motorized vehicles.
The elderly, children below 5 years, pregnant women, persons with poor nutritional status and those with prolonged exposure (traffic policemen, rickshaw pullers, roadside vendors) have been asked to remain especially careful.