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Residents in Delhi NCR woke up to a cold, foggy morning on Friday, with pollution touching ‘hazardous’ levels in Mandir Marg (333) and Dwarka (332), and ‘very unhealthy’ near Siri Fort (288) and Punjabi Marg (290), according to the latest Air Quality Index (AQI) ratings, reported news agency ANI. At least 40 trains were delayed, while 13 have been rescheduled and six cancelled from New Delhi Railway Station in the wake of the fog.
Meanwhile, a recent study attributed the smog between November 6 and 14 in north India to a “multi-day dust storm” in Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The study, published by the System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting And Research (under the Ministry of Earth Sciences) and India Meteorological Department (IMD), cited the dust storm as 40 per cent responsible for the smog, while stubble burning was 25 per cent responsible. The study was published on Thursday.
Delhi pollution LIVE updates:
10.49 am: The NGT has lifted its ban on construction activity in Delhi, but says its orders on industries and burning of crops will remain in force. It has directed authorities to continue sprinkling water where particles are dense. The tribunal has sought a status report from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh within two weeks, reports ANI.
10.48 am: Cricket team captain Virat Kohli posted a video on social media last night, in which he urged Delhiites to fight against pollution. “Hi guys! We all know what the situation of pollution is like in Delhi. I wanted to bring your attention towards it because a lot of people are debating as to what’s causing it. But what are we actually doing about it? If we have to win this match against the pollution, we all have to come forward and fight against it,” he says in the video. He urged people to use public transport or carpool, saying it would make a “massive” difference.
10.17 am: In an improvement from the “emergency” situation in the national capital last week, air quality in Delhi was at “very poor” levels on Wednesday and Thursday.
10.14 am: While the EPCA has lifted its ban on construction activities in Delhi, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) will take a decision on the same today. The ban will remain in force today as well, until the NGT takes a decision on the matter after inspecting air quality.
9.43 am: The Delhi High Court on Thursday gave a green light to the Delhi half marathon, which will be held on November 19. The court also asked the Delhi Pollution Control Committee how is plans to use the ‘green cess’ — collected from commercial vehicles entering the city — to curb air pollution. Of the entire tax collected, 25 per cent is required to be given to the central pollution board.
9.17 am: Meanwhile, in Lucknow, the fire brigade went around the city sprinkling water on Friday. Mall Avenue, Vikramaditya Marg, Kalidas Marg, Dilkusha areas and near Raj Bhavan were showered in a bid to reduce pollution in the city, reports ANI.
9.00 am: In protest of the air pollution in the capital, two Delhi MLAs on Thursday tied a mark around the statue of Gandhi at Gyarah Murti in New Delhi. The MLAs, Kapil Misra and Manjinder Singh Sirsa, were protesting the government’s “non-utilisation” of environment fund to combat the pollution, reports PTI. Gyarah Murti depicts Gandhi leading eleven other men and women in the Dandi March of 1931.
8.45 am: The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on Thursday lifted the ban on construction activity and trucks entering Delhi. The panel also directed city municipal corporations to resume normal parking charges, which had been hiked to upto four times the norm.
(With inputs from agencies)