National capital Delhi’s air quality levels have improved and stayed below the emergency levels for over 48 hours. This has prompted the Delhi Government to roll back several emergency measures that were taken to control the air pollution in Delhi. The huge increase (fourfold) in parking charges have been rolled back. Trucks have been allowed entry into the capital due to improved air quality in Delhi.

Supreme Court-mandated environment pollution prevention and control authority (EPCA) has also removed prohibitory orders on other activities in Delhi and NCR. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) also says the ban can be removed if the air quality standards do not deteriorate drastically. Delhi’s air quality has bettered from ‘severe plus’ levels. However, air quality in Delhi is still ‘very poor.’

Air quality in Delhi improved and prompted lift of restrictions

EPCA directions have been officially communicated to the government’s Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. The measures had been imposed as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). The EPCA said curbs had been removed after the capital’s air quality stayed below the ‘severe’ level for 48 hours.

EPCA lifted parking fees hike, a step mandated under ‘very poor’ category, due to insufficient enforcement and lack of public transport.

‘EPCA was informed of problems of ineffective enforcement and it led to parking on the road, which adds to traffic congestion. EPCA believes this is due to lack of enforcement. The measure was ineffective due to lack of public transport and poor enforcement of illegal parking,’ said EPCA chairman Bhure Lal. EPCA says measures can be reinstated if such bottlenecks are sorted out and effective enforcement can be ensured.

Other measures remain and could be lifted if air quality in Delhi stabilizes. Trucks are already being allowed into Delhi, as corporations revoked parking fees and reverted them to original rates. Metro parking rates have also been reverted to previous states. Air pollution levels had remarkably dipped and quality had dipped in the national capital. Though there was some temporary respite intermittently, overall air quality has continued to stay grim. Levels of air pollution are still unfit even for healthy people.

300% rise in patients with asthma, bronchitis: Air quality in Delhi

There is 300 percent increase in people with respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and asthma. Hospitals are full of patients. Hundreds of patients are battling pneumonia or life threatening conditions. Intensive care units (ICUs) are full. People were complaining of burning sensation in the eyes and heaviness in breathing. There was a medical emergency in Delhi. The Delhi smog is even now equal to smoking 40 cigarettes a day.

According to a report by the journal The Lancet, pollution kills millions in India and China every year.

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