May 31, 2020 | 3:34 PM IST
Delhi-NCR pollution

Delhi-NCR pollution levels reach severe+; India-B’desh to play T20I despite environment concerns

Delhi-NCR’s pollution levels reached ‘severe+’ emergency level on Thursday night and by Friday morning the entire city was covered with a thick blanket of haze. The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded 410 on Thursday and shot to the highest by next morning, by the Central Pollution Control Board. However, by 1 pm on Friday, the pollution levels declined to 480 and came under the ‘severe’ category. 

Bawana recorded as the most-polluted area with an AQI of 497, followed by Delhi Technological University at 487 and Wazirpur at 485. 

Commenting on the concern, Delhi Chief Minister tweeted, “Delhi has turned into a gas chamber due to smoke from crop burning in neighbouring states. It is very important that we protect ourselves from this toxic air. Through pvt & govt schools, we have started distributing 50 lakh masks today. I urge all Delhiites to use them whenever needed.”

On the other hand, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) panel appointed by the Supreme Court declared a public health emergency and banned construction till November 5 and bursting of crackers. Similarly, all coal and other fuel-based industries in Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Noida, Bahadurgarh, Bhiwadi, Greater Noida, Sonepat, Panipat, that have not yet shifted to natural gas or agro-residue, will also remain shut till the morning of November 5. 

Despite the rising pollution levels, the BCCI has decided to go ahead with the India-Bangladesh T20I series from November 3. However, Bollywood actress Dia Mirza has slammed BCCI’s decision to play the matches regardless of surging environment concerns.

Meanwhile, during the practice session, several Bangladesh cricketers were spotted wearing face masks. The cricketers have been complaining of burning eyes and discomfort in breathing and it was becoming a challenge to even spot the ball.

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