Delhi: Air quality level remains severe in capital

A dense blanket of fog envelops Anand Vihar on Tuesday

A dense blanket of fog envelops Anand Vihar on Tuesday

Union Minister Harsh Vardhan has said that the air quality is likely to improve by 14th November. A US embassy measure of tiny particulate matter, called PM 2.5, showed a reading of 523 at 9 a.m. on Friday - the outer limit of "good" air is 50.

According to health experts, higher air pollution level may result in increase in the burden of disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and both chronic and acute respiratory disease, including asthma.

ASSOCHAM interacted with 350 tour operators reveals worldwide tourists are quite particular about their health and safety and with such negative developments Delhi is bound to drop off from the map of global tourists who will pick "cleaner" South Asian destination.

The scheme was introduced in the Chinese capital a decade ago to fight traffic and pollution with mixed success.

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The Delhi High Court also issued a slew of directions to control pollution in Delhi-NCR and banned felling of trees, ordered sprinkling of water on roads to control dust and strict enforcement of construction code. Government hospitals in the city, Jain said, were treating thousands of patients with respiratory ailments.

"Crop residue and stubble burning have been under detailed discussions during all these meetings", the Minister said, referring to the review meetings with concerned state governments and agencies. The national capital has been experiencing dense smog for the past a few days, forcing authorities to enforce emergency measures such as banning construction activities and brick kilns due to worsening air pollution. As per the data collected from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi's average Air Quality Index (AQI) at 3 p.m. was 423 (on a scale of 0 to 500) while the PM2.5 (particles with a diameter less than 2.5) hovered around 422 units, considered "severe".

It said the feedback from tour operators and hoteliers clearly points out a deep concern over the negative impact pollution can cause to the economy. "In comparison, worldwide tourists are more sensitive about green tourism", said the industry body.

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