Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Thursday met Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain over the poor quality in the capital and ordered to stop all construction activities till June 17, 2018, and sprinkle water on the roadsides. The decision from the governor came after the air quality remained severe for the third consecutive day on June 14, 2018, across Delhi and NCR. The ban will be uplifted on June 18, 2018. On Twitter, Baijal said that further monitoring will be done by several agencies such as NHAI, DMRC, MCDs, PWD and NBCC. Notably, the air quality of the capital has deteriorated because of the severe dust storm in western India, particularly in Rajasthan.

The Delhi governor also chaired a meeting with the local authorities such as municipal corporations and the Public Works Department regarding the issue. Anil Baijal directed the authorities to intensify mechanical road sweeping, a sprinkling of non-potable water at central verges and roadsides and stop brooming activity on main roads. The LG also asked the agencies to impose fine and penalties on all road construction agencies and contractors where there are inadequate dust control measures.

On June 14, 2018, the dust enveloped Delhi-NCR with the air quality remaining in the ‘severe’ category for the third consecutive day. While the particulate matter (PM) units came to a few notches down from June 13, 2018, but the air quality index was still within the severe mark at 431 units.

According to the CPCB, the air quality index – a measurement of the concentration of toxic particulate matter in the air — at several places in Delhi remained beyond the 500-mark, with east Delhi’s Anand Vihar area recording a PM10 level of 929 and PM2.5 level of 301 this morning. An AQI between 0-50 is considered ‘Good’, 51-100 ‘Satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘Moderate’, 201-300 ‘Poor’, 301-400 ‘Very Poor’, and 401-500 ‘Severe’.

In a series of tweets, LG Anil Baijal also said that a massive afforestation drive will also be undertaken across the region from July 15 to September 15. He also urged the people residing in the city to participate in the programme named ‘Green Delhi our common goal’.

As per the data released by World Health Organisation in May 2018, as many as 7 million people die every year due to air pollution alone. In 2016, ambient (outdoor) air pollution alone caused 4 million deaths; on the other hand, household pollution took 3.8 million lives across the world.

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