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#DelhiChokes: Running Noses, Itchy Eyes, Lumpy Throats The national capital of the country is going through the worst environmental crisis as a public health emergency was declared on Friday

By Bhavya Kaushal

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Washington Post

The national capital of the country is going through the worst environmental crisis as a public health emergency was declared on Friday. A look at how India is grappling with one of the worst air pollution crisis.

A Hit in the Air Quality

According to reports, the Air Quality Index (AQI) reached a catastrophic 999 on 27 October 2019, the night of India's most widely celebrated festival, Diwali. Since then, AQI has been hobnobbing in and out of alarming numbers. On Friday, the index reached yet again a whopping 892 after which the Internet has been breaking, questioning the government and raising voice for urgent action to be taken against the prevailing scenario.

What is Causing Air Pollution in Delhi?

Delhi has been facing the wrath of air pollution.

The amount of emissions by vehicles on road is a major contributor of pollution.

Industrialization and unplanned setting up of factories could be one of the reasons why the national capital has to undergo this dismaying situation.

Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, said on Friday in a press conference that because of stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, the air pollution level in the city are so aggravated.

Taking Steps to Curb the Situation

While the government announced a ban on crackers this year, it seems that the ban had less effect, the AQI being a testimonial of how Delhites refused to compromise on the spending of crackers. There has been a reduction in the number of crackers bursted this year, yet the city continues to remain saddled in pollution.

Kejriwal announced in the same press conference about the implementation of the odd-even formula in Delhi from Monday onwards.

Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA), a body mandated by the Supreme Court has announced the pause of all construction activities between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Saturday to Wednesday.

Kejriwal also said that his government would distribute 50 lakh anti-pollution masks in the city in the coming week.

All schools have been directed to suspend outdoor activities and are closed till Wednesday.

Are Indian Companies Financing a Sustainable Future?

According to "Financing a Sustainable Future in Asia' report by global financial markets data and infrastructure provider Refinitiv, India was ranked at the third position after Hong Kong and South Korea in an index out of 8 countries which measured the environmental performance of Asian companies.

The report said, "A greater proportion of Asian companies have policies on emissions, waste management, and water efficiency than those with actual targets for improvement."

Hong Kong recorded an average environment score of 70.06, followed by South Korea (64.57) and India (63.12).

India's impressive position in the index (even beating China) comes at a time when it is struggling to fight pollution battles in its capital city.

Bhavya Kaushal

Former Features Writer

I am a work-in-progress writer and human being. An English graduate from Delhi University, writing is my passion and currently, I was Entrepreneur India's start-up reporter. I love covering start-ups and weaving their stories into unforgettable tales with the power of ink! 
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