Earlier this month, Indian healthcare experts warned that increasing air pollution in Delhi may further trigger the surge of COVID-19 cases as well as causing fatalities among people suffering respiratory ailments.
In light of how serious it would be for Delhi’s air quality to deteriorate again this year, India's central government has issued regulations banning pollution with a jail term of up to five years and a fine of up to INR 1 crore ($135,000).
The commission — comprising civil servants and experts — will examine "stubble" burning, vehicle pollution and dust pollution among other causes for air quality deteriorating in the northern parts of the country. The commission will submit its annual reports to Parliament and will be a central body for all purposes.
On Thursday, the Delhi government headed by Arvind Kejriwal launched the “Green Delhi” app in a bid to allow the more than 30 million people living in the region to complain about violation of anti-pollution norms. The smartphone app will enable users to report pollution-causing instances with photos and videos as evidence for the complaint.
Launching the 'Green Delhi' App to increase citizen participation in our fight against pollution and ensure timely action against pollution sources in the city | LIVE https://t.co/M7JnLJDgn1— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) October 29, 2020
In its fight to breathe fresh and clean air again, Delhi will also be housing India’s first “Smog Tower” – like a giant diffuser that would soak up toxins and clean the air – which will be set up in the capital's Connaught Place area. The announcement about this tower was made by Kejriwal on 9 October, who also revealed that a budget of around $2.7 million will be allocated for its construction.
Similar smog towers are to be erected in other parts of the national capital region as well.
Anti-smog guns have also been deployed around the city to get the heavy air stuck between high-rise buildings to get moving.
Although these larger measures need time to be introduced, the Delhi government has also tried to urge residents to participate in anti-pollution movements.
Earlier this month, Kejriwal called for the execution of “Red Light On, Engine Off” movement encouraging drivers to turn off their engine while waiting for the traffic lights to turn green at the signals. The movement garnered positive reactions on social media.
🙏😇🛐— Ugo Oberoi (@OberoiUgo) October 28, 2020
Really alarming we all should take steps for controlling Air Pollution, delhi i saw a good initiative Red 🔴 light💡 on gaadi Off as in engine off pic.twitter.com/Rt3QRUNmtO
Let's do our bit to lower pollution in Delhi. I support Red Light On - Engine off initiative of the Delhi Government, a simple way to pollute less. I also nominate @AtishiAAP @raghav_chadha and @TheRahulMehra to support this and carry it forward. pic.twitter.com/4gOYLyAWK8— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 26, 2020
In the past few weeks, Delhi residents have shared visuals of the capital shrouded in clouds of smog which irritates eyes, triggers headaches and stuffy nose and causes accidents through reduced visibility.
Delhi: Thick layer of smog blankets several areas in the national capital; visuals from Central Delhi and Nizamuddin area. pic.twitter.com/IpqtPYrG0v— ANI (@ANI) October 29, 2020
The great Delhi NCR smog!— Shruti Malhotra (@Shruti_Malhotra) October 28, 2020
The air is hazy and polluted and toxic.
📷 via @Palak30Agarwal #AirPollution #DelhiSmog @CPCB_OFFICIAL @moefcc @ArvindKejriwal @msisodia https://t.co/nLaQxC6q0a pic.twitter.com/mtaqZA67j6
Delhi #Smog getting worse.Ministers people in charge please stop the blame game and save your Citizens from this poor air quality .— Mohua Dutta (@MohuaCares) October 24, 2020
People vote for some quality life if you can’t do 100 pc at least don’t ignore let most of them not have lung issues in future for your fault. pic.twitter.com/rVr1UKQPsH