HomeEnvironmentDelhi's Air Quality Crisis: Political Blame Game Amidst Pollution Surge

Delhi’s Air Quality Crisis: Political Blame Game Amidst Pollution Surge

The air quality in several parts of Delhi has once again plunged to ‘severe’ levels, triggering a political blame game between the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the late-night bursting of crackers during Diwali celebrations on Sunday. Despite a temporary respite due to rain, Delhi witnessed a resurgence of a smoky haze on Monday morning as residents flouted the ban on firecrackers.

On Monday, the average Air Quality Index (AQI) stood at 358, categorizing it as ‘very poor.’ Surprisingly, the city had recorded its best air quality on Diwali day in eight years on Sunday, with a 24-hour average AQI of 218 at 4 pm. However, the subsequent violation of the firecracker ban reversed this progress.

Delhi Area Alarming AQI

As of Tuesday morning, several areas in Delhi reported alarming AQI levels. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, RK Puram recorded an AQI of 422 (severe), Dwarka’s air quality turned severe with an AQI of 406, and ITO registered an AQI of 432 (severe) at 5 am. The prominent pollutant remained lung-damaging particulate matter PM2.5.

Anand Vihar, witnessing relentless bursting of firecrackers and police inaction, recorded an alarming PM2.5 concentration of 1,985 micrograms per cubic meter at midnight on Sunday, 33 times the national safe standard and 132 times the limit set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Neighboring cities like Noida and Gurugram mirrored Delhi’s deteriorating air quality. Noida Sector-125 reported an AQI of 406 (severe), Sector-62 clocked at 377 (very poor), and Gurugram’s Sector-51 recorded an AQI of 430. Authorities in Gurugram had temporarily closed primary schools due to rising pollution levels, but classes are set to resume.

The deteriorating air quality triggered a blame game between political parties. Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai accused individuals associated with the BJP of instigating residents to burn firecrackers, leading to a significant spike in the air quality index. He alleged that firecrackers from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were transported to Delhi with the assistance of some individuals, including police personnel from these states.

In response, Delhi BJP vice president Kapil Mishra dismissed the allegations, stating that the focus should be on fighting pollution rather than blaming crackers. He argued that the air quality index had decreased post-Diwali, and holding crackers responsible for pollution was baseless. Mishra had earlier praised people for defying the cracker ban.

The political blame game extended to social media, with BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla accusing the AAP and the opposition alliance INDIA of targeting Hindus and Diwali. He highlighted incidents of stubble burning in Punjab despite Supreme Court warnings.

Meanwhile, according to IQAir, a Swiss company specializing in air quality monitoring, Delhi claimed the unenviable title of the most polluted city globally on Monday. Lahore and Karachi in Pakistan followed, with Mumbai and Kolkata ranking fifth and sixth among the world’s most polluted cities.

In conclusion, as Delhi grapples with a renewed air quality crisis, the blame game between political factions continues. While accusations fly, the immediate concern remains the well-being of residents in the face of hazardous air pollution levels. Effective and collaborative measures are essential to address the root causes and mitigate the impact of air pollution on public health.

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