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Dense smog continued to hang over Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) for the fourth day on Friday, leaving people gasping for breath during the morning hours. According to the India Meteorological Department, the visibility remained at 1,000 metres at 5:30 am, but dropped to 400 metres at 8:30 am. The minimum temperature settled at 13 degrees Celsius, a notch below the season’s average. The humidity level recorded at 8.30 am was 93 per cent. The department said there was a possibility of light winds later in the day, which could clear the smog choking the region. The national capital has been experiencing “severe” air quality under a blanket of thick haze, as pollution levels have breached the permissible standards by multiple times. The health ministry on Friday directed all the central government-run hospitals to take measures to deal with the increasing number of patients in the wake of severe air pollution in Delhi-NCR. Union Health Minister J P Nadda, who reviewed the situation on Friday, directed hospitals to stock nebulisers and other related equipment, and be ready to meet any exigency. At a meeting with Nadda, experts said the number of cases being reported with breathing troubles and respiratory diseases was varying every day.
The statement said the recent increase in air pollution levels in Delhi-NCR had become “a cause of concern”.According to the health experts, higher air pollution levels may result in an increase in many diseases — from stroke, heart ailments, lung cancer to chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on Friday recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 486, on a scale of 500, in the national capital. Meanwhile, describing Delhi’s air pollution as a “national problem”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday expressed support for her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, and said the Centre should discuss with neighbouring states to find a solution. “Global warming is a problem. Delhi pollution a disaster. Instead of blaming each other, I suggest Centre sit with CMs of neighbouring states — Punjab, Haryana — to solve problem. Only to accuse Delhi CM is not solution,” Banerjee tweeted. Former Union minister M Veerappa Moily also called for an immediate dialogue among the Centre, Delhi and the neighbouring state governments to discuss ways to improve the air quality in the national capital. The senior Congress leader termed the alarming rise in air pollution as fallout of “financial and administrative problem”. “It can be tackled if they put their mind on it, instead of getting into the blame game,” the former Karnataka chief minister told PTI.
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