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Took new measures against Delhi air pollution: Minister

Harsh Vardhan said that during the peak of Delhi's air pollution crisis after November 8 this year, the extra effluents from the Gulf and neighbouring states were the major cause.

Delhi's air quality drastically dipped during Diwali. Wikimedia Commons
Delhi's air quality drastically dipped during Diwali. Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi, Dec 28: Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said dust coming in from the Gulf and stubble burning were the major reasons behind an air pollution crisis here in November, adding that his Ministry took a slew of precautionary measures that have never been taken before.

The Environment Ministry was trying to initiate a movement of awareness against pollution, Harsh Vardhan told the Rajya Sabha amid disruptions by various members, including former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

During the discussion, members raised concerns about the deteriorating air quality of Delhi and asked the government to take effective steps to control the pollution.

The short-duration discussion titled “excessively high levels of air pollution in Delhi”, drew criticism from some members of the Upper House, who pointed out that the measures being flaunted by the Minister were very basic and general in nature.

“What we are doing today has never been done in the past… We are trying to initiate a movement against pollution, If they (other members) will not be receptive about it, who will?,” the Minister asked.

Jairam Ramesh was quick to point out that the Minister was wasting the House’s time by saying things like encouraging people to use public transport.

Harsh Vardhan said that during the peak of Delhi’s air pollution crisis after November 8 this year, the extra effluents from the Gulf and neighbouring states were the major cause.

Stubble burning is one of the main reason behind heavy pollution in the Delhi and NCR region. Wikimedia Commons
Stubble burning is one of the main reason behind heavy pollution in the Delhi and NCR region. Wikimedia Commons

Between November 7 and 16, the national capital and surrounding regions choked on “severe plus or emergency” level of air quality with environment bodies imposing emergency level restrictions on polluting activities like construction, industry and truck movement. The schools across National Capital Regions were also shut for the duration.

“During peak, dust storm from the Gulf contributed to 40 per cent of pollution, stubble burning in neighbouring states were responsible for 25 per cent pollution, while the local effluents had only 35 per cent contribution,” the minister said.

He also pointed out that the pollutant level this Diwali dropped as compared to last year.

“Our Ministry, two-three months prior to Diwali, initiated a movement for Harit or Green Diwali… I personally sent mail to over two lakh schools and institutions,” the Minister said. IANS

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Air Pollutants Can Be Stopped If They Are Frozen : Scientists

The air-quality across the NCR was very poor

Pollution, pollutants, India, air pollution, WHO, diwali
India's Rashtrapati Bhawan, or the Presidential Palace is partly visible due to smog as traffic plies on Rajapth, the ceremonial boulevard in New Delhi. VOA

Freezing pollutants can prevent deadly outdoor air pollution — thought to cause more than three million premature deaths worldwide every year — from seeping indoors by 99 per cent, scientists have discovered.

The research, by a team of scientists from the Nottingham Trent University in the UK and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, involved studying the effectiveness of cryogenics for indoor air purification, by removing the gaseous pollutants and tiny particulates caused by haze.

The team found that as they circulated haze-polluted air through a cryogenic condenser, the finer particles stuck together in the condenser tube before dropping out by gravity, and emerging as clean air.

Air Pollution, China, WHO,Pollution, pollutants
A man wearing a respiratory protection mask walks toward an office building during the smog after a red alert was issued for heavy air pollution in Beijing’s central business district, China. VOA

Their method was able to remove 99 per cent of particulates and 98 per cent of nitrogen oxide pollutants.

“Hazardous outdoor air pollution has severely affected indoor air quality, threatening the health of billions of people,” said Professor Robert Mortimer, Dean of the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences at Nottingham.

“Outdoor air pollution in cities is a global problem. While there are some existing technologies to purify indoor air, they can be inefficient, expensive or produce harmful by-products.

“When outdoor air quality is poor, people tend to spend even more time indoors – but outdoor pollution also leads to indoor pollution and people are still impacted.”

air pollution, Pollution, pollutants
In this Sept. 19, 2018 photo steam and cooling towers of a lignite power plant are reflected in a pond in Peitz, eastern Germany. VOA

The experiments, reported in the journal Science of the Total Environment, showed that by simply circulating polluted air through a small freezing chamber we can remove most of the fine particles and gas pollutants.

“Our study makes it possible to add an ‘air cleaner’ option to household appliances in areas which might experience extremely poor air conditions. By controlling indoor air pollution and improving air quality in this way, this work could be greatly beneficial for public health,” added Gang Pan, Professor at the varsity.

It is hoped that the work could pave the way for simple modification of air conditioning and humidifier units so that they can also clean polluted indoor air, the team said.

Air Quality, WHO, Pollution, pollutants
Air pollution can also damage your kidneys. wikimedia commons

Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) on Sunday witnessed “very poor” air quality with the minimum temperature recorded at 12.4 degrees Celsius, two notches below the season’s average.

Also Read: Delhi’s Air Quality Leads to Ban On Truck And Construction

The air-quality across the NCR was very poor, according to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research.

The humidity at 8.30 a.m. was 87 per cent. The maximum temperature was likely to hover around 28 degrees Celsius. (IANS)