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Smog In New Delhi Clears After Rain, AQI Remains ‘Very Poor’

Despite the pollution, there is little sign Delhi’s 20 million residents are taking steps to protect themselves.

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A man rides a motorcycle on a morning thick with smog on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Jan. 5, 2019. A Sunday morning rain improved the air quality to "very poor." VOA

A rainy spell early Sunday brought better air to residents of New Delhi, giving them a brief respite from thick gray smog that has shrouded the Indian capital for the last two months, although air quality continued to be “very poor.”

A measure of tiny, hazardous breathable particles known as PM 2.5 reached an average of 182 by 12 p.m., the Central Pollution Control Board said, its lowest since Nov. 4.

But the pollution level was still five times more than a U.S. government recommended level of 35 to stand at “unhealthy” levels, according to the U.S. embassy.

Problem not solved

“Change in weather conditions by rain or higher wind speed helps dissipate peak pollution, but we continue to need strong emergency actions such as shutting power plants,” said Anumita Roychowdhury of the Center for Science and Environment think-tank.

Delhi, air pollution, cold, smog
People take early morning walk amid smog in New Delhi, Dec. 26, 2018. In the Indian capital, the air quality hovered between severe and very poor this week posing a serious health hazard for millions of people. VOA

The federal government air quality index rated Delhi’s air quality “very poor” Sunday and had a similar forecast for Monday, urging people with respiratory and cardiac problems to avoid polluted areas and limit outdoor movement.

A sharp drop in temperatures and wind speed over the last two weeks, combined with vehicle and industrial emissions, dust from building sites and smoke from garbage burning has stoked pollution over much of north India.

Dangerous particles

Levels of PM 2.5, or particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, hit their highest last year at 450Dec. 23.

Also Read:Toxic Air of Delhi Prompting People To Quit City

Despite the pollution, there is little sign Delhi’s 20 million residents are taking steps to protect themselves.

Activists say the apparent lack of concern gives politicians the cover they need for not tackling the issue adequately. (VOA)

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Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater -- 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater -- 12 per cent of the global total.

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water
Global groundwater depletion - where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally - increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period. Pixabay

As many as one billion people in India live in areas of physical water scarcity, of which 600 million are in areas of high to extreme water stress, according to a new report.

Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid.

This number is expected to go up to five billion by 2050, said the report titled “Beneath the Surface: The State of the World’s Water 2019”, released to mark World Water Day on March 22.

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Pure water droplet. Pixabay

Physical water scarcity is getting worse, exacerbated by growing demand on water resources and and by climate and population changes.

By 2040 it is predicted that 33 countries are likely to face extremely high water stress – including 15 in the Middle East, most of Northern Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Spain. Many – including India, China, Southern Africa, USA and Australia – will face high water stress.

water
Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid. Pixabay

Global groundwater depletion – where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally – increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India’s rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period.

Also Read: Beware! Sipping Hot Tea Raises Risk of Esophageal Cancer

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater — 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater — 12 per cent of the global total.

The WaterAid report warned that food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply as high-income countries buy products with considerable “water footprints” – the amount of water used in production — from water-scarce countries. (IANS)