Air pollution in Delhi and NCR is back to the ‘severe-plus’ or the ‘emergency’ category. It is expected to further deteriorate. The predictions have been made by the environment monitoring agencies. PM2.5 and PM10 levels are rising even as average Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 463, with PM2.5 at 460. Average AQI was 455 in Delhi NCR, with PM2.5 at 452 level.

Globally, permissible limits for PM2.5, particles less than 2.5 mm in diameter, is 25 units, whereas it is 60 units for India. Ghaziabad is the most polluted in the national capital region (NCR), with PM2.5 reading a shocking 848 units, more than 33 times the safety limit.

Meanwhile, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) says air in Delhi ‘may see increase in pollution levels’ due to various meteorological factors. Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) proclaimed that air quality in Delhi had ‘reversed’ to ‘emergency’ or ‘severe-plus’ category. ‘Severe-plus’ category has PM2.5 above 300 or PM10 above 500 units continuously for 48 hours. SAFAR has also predicted rains, which may provide some relief. However, it will have its own problems. There could be high accumulation of particulate matter due increased moisture levels.

‘Western disturbance is looming over Delhi and withdrawal is expected on November 16–17. This is accompanied by addition of moisture to Delhi air and fall in temperature, which may result in increase in pollution levels,’ said a forecast report by SAFAR Director Gufran Beig.

‘Emergency-like situation’: Supreme Court, issues notices to states and Centre on air pollution in Delhi

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of India blasted Delhi administration and the Central government for not controlling the Smog. The Apex Court sought immediate action and called it life-threatening with every passing day. The SC observed the situation was emergency-like. The court issued notices in crop burning case to Government of India, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi government.

Air quality is plummeting in the national capital though schools have reopened. The SC is holding urgent hearings in the case of a plea seeking total ban on stubble burning in the neighboring states, adjoining the national capital and which have led to Delhi smog. Dangerous air pollution levels are existing in Delhi as well as the NCR region.

Air pollution levels have shot through the roof. Supreme Court is also hearing the case for the implementation of Odd Even rule, which is a car rationing scheme for Delhi. Though there have been temporary respite intermittently, the overall air quality situation has largely continued to be grim. Pollution levels have skyrocketed, with air quality becoming hazardous: levels of Air pollution in Delhi are unfit for healthy people.

300 percent rise in patients with asthma, bronchitis: Delhi Air Pollution Live

There is 300% increase in number of people with respiratory ailments like bronchitis and asthma. Hospitals in Delhi are full of patients with respiratory diseases. Over the past 10 days, hundreds of patients have caught pneumonia or such other life threatening condition. Intensive care units (ICUs) are full of patients. People have also complained of a burning sensation in eyes as well as heaviness in breathing. A medical emergency exists in Delhi. The smog is equal to smoking 50 cigarettes a day. Visibility has come down below 100 meters at many places.

Uncertainty over odd even rule in Delhi; ban on construction activity

Meanwhile, Delhi government has called off its plans of implementing the odd even scheme after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) rejected exemptions to two-wheelers and women commuters. The car rationing scheme entails vehicles with odd and even registration numbers will hit the roads on alternate days. It is an emergency step when air quality dips and comes under Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). It was proposed to be enforced for 5 days, from November 13 till 17.

The odd-even scheme was earlier implemented and can remove half of private cars to cut vehicle pollution. The EPCA is mandated by Supreme Court to carry out the GRAP. It has asked states including Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh to be ready for the crisis.

Would the odd-even scheme have worked in Delhi and NCR?

A report by TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) says the odd even had little impact on pollution in Delhi before. The TERI report also says decrease in air pollution in Delhi for the earlier periods was 7 and 4 per cent, respectively.
However, some people also think the odd even also worked.

“My friends say the odd even scheme worked in Delhi. But, people also started buying more and more cars. I do not know if it was the correct solution, however, it somehow worked,” says Claudia Ciesla, actor in Bollywood as well as an erstwhile contestant in Bigg Boss Season 3.

Ban on construction activity in national capital region (NCR) too curb air pollution in Delhi

“Central Pollution Control Board, that is the CPCB, noted pollution level in Delhi is severe for past 7 to 10 days,” the NGT said, halting construction activities, both government as well as private to control air pollution in Delhi. The NGT asked the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), and other health and environment departments to ensure waste is not burned on the streets. Teams have been formed to inspect various areas to control air pollution in Delhi.

“This shall apply to areas and authorities with jurisdiction over the regions of Noida, Ghaziabad, Sonipat, Greater Noida, Gurugram, Paliwal, Bahadurgarh. States shall inspect if construction material like cement, sand, and gravel are lying in the open. Such material be seized by corporation; owner/builder shall pay environment compensation,” the order says with respect to air pollution in Delhi.

“GRAP shall be implemented by all States, including Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh (particularly in NCR districts) to improve air quality,” the tribunal said. It said the Badarpur Thermal Power Station be closed till March 2018. The NGT also sought explanation from Delhi, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana why steps were not taken to counter the situation before it occurred.

About the author: I am an environmentalist, technology evangelist, women empowerment advocate, writer and editor. Basically I am a storyteller at heart and want to make the world a better place. I want to be the catalyst for making the world green and clean and rid the Earth of disasters like global warming and climate change. You can mail me at or connect with me through LinkedIn, Twitter, together with Facebook. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.


About Muqbil Ahmar

Editor-in-Chief and Founder at I am an environmentalist, technology evangelist, women empowerment advocate, writer and editor. Basically I am a storyteller at heart and want to make the world a better place. With more than 10 years of experience in media, I want to be the catalyst for making the world green and clean and rid the Earth of disasters like global warming, climate change, green house effect, pollution, environment degradation, etc. I want to reduce the carbon footprint of humanity for a sustainable development model. I am the founder of I have been published on various platforms such as FirstPost, Forbes, TechStory, Greenpeace, The Hindu, Business World, DailyO, Inc. 42, CXO Today, Sify. Experfy, BBN Times.Com, etc. I love to write on tech, economy, films, arts and culture, and other diverse subjects. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.