The air quality in Delhi NCR has been at its all-time low and the schools have been declared a holiday due to the health emergency. Emissions from motor vehicles, fires caused by agricultural land, garbage burning, dust emitted from construction sites, and other industrial activities that are illegal are just a few major reasons for the poor air quality and the health emergency in Delhi.
Reacting to the health emergency, students from various universities from across Delhi protested at Connaught Place by forming a human chain. They protested against the government for its inability to manage the poor air quality levels in the Capital.
Students from Ambedkar University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, and Jamia Millia Islamia University formed a human chain showing their protest towards the Centre and the Delhi government. The students are demanding the government support by providing free rides in the Delhi Metro and arranging 10,000 CNG DTC buses for a month. The demand is a suggestion to control the movement of private vehicles.
The students made a list of demands like providing free rides on the DTC buses, Delhi metro, ban on construction activities, and usage of diesel generators. They also are demanding the government to pay compensation for the workers without causing any job losses. The students are also demanding that the government set up solar panels instead of the thermal power plants that cause enormous amounts of pollution.
The students feel that the government has not been stringent enough in enforcing the compliance for pollution standards by various industries. Kawalpreet Kaur, president of Delhi AISA recently mentioned that the issue of pollution is an issue at the political level and that the blame game has been going on every year between the central and state governments. Kawalpreet Kaur also mentioned that AISA will ensure that they will make an agenda about the air pollution issue in the upcoming assembly elections in Delhi.
The thick smog over the city of Delhi has called for a health emergency in the Capital. Diversion of flights, distribution of anti-pollution masks to colleges, hospitals, and local markets are some of the measures that the government has been pursuing.
World health organization says that the pollution level that is more than 25 is harmful and more than 500 is considered hazardous. But the city has peaked at a level of more than 1000.
Putting a hold on constructions and providing antipollution masks are a few measures that have been taken by the government in the emergency. However, the causing factors of air pollution need to be addressed with a long term perspective to curb the poor quality of air pollution. Stringent action needs to be administered by the government on some of the activities like illegal construction, burning of agricultural waste, and motor vehicle emissions.
Devising environmental friendly methods for transportation, providing the right methods for the disposal of agricultural waste and garbage, and curbing the illegal construction activities are some of the means through which there could be a positive change in the current health emergency in Delhi.