Delhi smog leaves truck drivers stranded at city’s borders
Trucks carrying various goods were stranded at New Delhi’s borders on Saturday (November 11) after the government banned their entry into the city to tackle the worsening pollution levels.
Commercial trucks have been banned from the city unless they are transporting essential commodities, all construction has been stopped and car parking charges raised four times to force residents to use public transport as New Delhi grapples with a pollution emergency.
The air quality index, which measures the concentration of poisonous particulate matter in the air, hit 374 on Saturday on a scale where the maximum reading is 500 and where anything above 100 is considered unhealthy by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). However, it was slightly better than Friday’s (November 09) average of 468.
PM 2.5 is about 30 times finer than a human hair. The particles can be inhaled deep into the lungs, causing heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer and respiratory diseases.
A haze of smog – a mixture of fog and smoke from burning crops in neighbouring agricultural states and vehicular emissions – continued to cover New Delhi’s central vista, that houses the India Gate war memorial and country’s Presidential palace and parliament house, for a fifth day on Saturday. Residents stepped out wearing masks to avoid breathing the toxic air.
Meanwhile, tractors started spraying water over trees in parts of the capital with high concentration of toxic dust.
At least 2.5 million people in India died early because of pollution in 2015, more than any other country in the world, according to a study by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health.