New Delhi, Nov 4 (PTI) Ban on trash burning, issuing advisories and holding discussions on the pollution crisis are among the several measures taken by the residents' welfare associations (RWAs) in Delhi as a thick toxic haze lingered over the city for the fifth straight day on Saturday.
Representatives of many RWAs told PTI although only the government with its resources and expertise was capable of dealing with the air pollution crisis, they were doing their bit to help the residents in the housing societies and apartment buildings.
The RWAs said they have taken a few measures such as issuing advisories with dos and don'ts, and banning trash burning, in view of the prevailing hazardous levels of air pollution in the city.
"We have issued a notice to the residents prohibiting them from burning trash. We have also instructed the security guards not to start any kind of fire," Sanjay Gupta of Model Town RWA told PTI.
Some RWAs are holding interactive sessions with their residents to advise them about the various measures they could take to protect themselves from the high levels of air pollution.
"We are organising interactive discussions where we are encouraging people not to go outside unless necessary. We are also ensuring cleanliness in our area, and have made arrangements for water sprinkling wherever needed," said Ashok Bhasin, president of an RWA in north Delhi.
Pollution levels in Delhi and its surrounding areas dipped marginally overnight in the last 24 hours due to a relatively better wind speed, though the concentration of poisonous PM2.5 was still more than 80 times the healthy limit prescribed by the World Health Organization.
A thick toxic haze lingers over the city for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday, with doctors expressing concerns that the air pollution is causing an increase in respiratory and eye problems among people, especially children and the elderly.
The air has become "poisonous" and is affecting people of all ages, said Geeta, president of an RWA in central Delhi's Karol Bagh.
"The situation is very bad and people with respiratory ailments like asthma are badly hit. I am also experiencing a severe cough," she complained.
Sourav Gandhi, general secretary of United Residents of Delhi, said that several RWAs have issued advisories asking people to protect themselves by using masks and keeping indoors.
"Also since the Diwali festival is round the corner, our primary focus is to urge people not to burn crackers. It's very important to discourage people from burning crackers that have been banned in the city," he added.
The air quality in Delhi-NCR declined over the past week due to a gradual drop in temperatures, calm winds that trap pollution, and a surge in post-harvest paddy straw burning across Punjab and Haryana. Friday's 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) was the worst since the previous high of 471 recorded on November 12, 2021.
The hazardous pollution levels have compelled many to forgo their morning walks, sports, and other outdoor activities.
Parents are a worried lot as health experts say children breathe faster, taking in more pollutants.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena held a high-level meeting on Friday wherein it was decided that health and environment departments will issue advisories and all preventive measures will be strictly implemented to tackle the crisis. PTI CORR VIT RPA