This Diwali, all our social media conversations were influenced by two major topics – boycott of China products and a good bashing of all those calling for pollution-free Diwali as “anti-Hindu”. On Monday, a day after the lung revolting Diwali celebrations, pollution levels in the national capital had hit a new high.

As per Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s real time monitoring mechanism, the ultra pollutant PM 2.5 on Monday breached the safe standard by over 14 times at Anand Vihar, Delhi’s most polluted area at 2:30 AM. At Anand Vihar the concentration of PM 2.5 peaked at an all time high 883 micrograms per cubic metre. Many other areas, including densely populated R K Puram, had nearly similar readings. According to World Health Organisation 25 micrograms per cubic metre concentration of PM 2.5 is the upper limit safe level.

During the same time as we were debating whether  Diwali crackers were behind the smog that had wrapped Delhi and if it was fair to singularly “shame a Hindu festival” for causing pollution, our neighbouring country’s capital Beijing took an unprecedented move. It issued a red alert following 291 micrograms per cubic metre concentration of PM 2.5. In Beijing, schools were shut. Factories shut, restrictions on vehicles were imposed, showing how grave the issue at hand was.

First PM 2.5 are tiny particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns. They are extremely hazardious as thousands of these particles can clog in a small space because of their extremely small size. This results in haziness and heaviness in air and severe respiratory problems.

The pollution level recorded in Beijing is far less than what was recorded at Anand Vihar. But we saw no such measures being taken by Delhi government. All we have heard is that a high level meeting is being headed by Manish Sisodia. There are no answers or solutions as of now.

We can choose to boycott Chinese products as much as we want to. But its important to follow the alacrity with which Beijing has acted on improving its air quality. It’s time Delhi government soon came out with some guidelines.

You can sign this petition asking the government to take immediate action against choking pollution levels.

 

With inputs from PTI