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Odd-even scheme kicks in as Delhi battles with pollution menace; AQI hits 708

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Odd-even scheme

Cup of woes for residents of the national capital continues as they battle toxic air which has engulfed Delhi in form of thick smog since Diwal.  Even if relief is nowhere in sight till November 8-9 when rain is expected to flush out pollutants , the Delhi Government on Monday started odd-even scheme, an initiative where vehicles carrying odd or even number plates are allowed to ply on the road on that particular odd or even day.

Air quality in several areas around Delhi was found to be oscillating between ‘severe plus’ to ‘severe plus emergency ‘category, an optimum mark when air can’t be inhaled otherwise it leads to severe impacts on health.

SAFAR, the government-run monitoring agency, said Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) was found to be at 708 at 6:30 am on Monday. Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida, and Ghaziabad too recorded severe-plus emergency overall air quality.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor, and 401-500 severe. Above 500 is severe-plus emergency category. It takes into account five chief pollutants including nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and carbon monoxide (CO).

On Sunday, a thick layer of smog clouded Delhi leading to least visibility on road. It also disrupted several flight operations at the Delhi airport, with 37 flights diverted to other airports. People were found complaining itching in eyes, difficulty in breathing and other health issues.

Since Diwali, residents in Delhi-NCR have been breathing toxic air containing primary and secondary particulate matters which have huge health implications. Possible reasons include crackers bursting defying SC’s diktat, stubble burning in nearby states, and weather change which don’t let dust particles go way.

Earlier on Friday, the Supreme Court mandated panel declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR region in the wake of AQI plunging to worst level. Construction activity was also banned and schools were closed.

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