first_imgThe Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority declared a public health emergency in the Capital as pollution levels entered the ‘severe plus’ category in the early hours of Friday.According to the official data provided by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the overall AQI score of Delhi was 504 at 3.30 a.m. on Friday after which alarm bells were sounded. The average AQI score of Delhi recorded at 4.30 p.m., which is the average of 32 monitoring stations in the past 24 hours, was 484, in the ‘severe’ category. AQI readings Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Greater Noida and Gurugram had AQI scores of 499, 496, 479, 496 and 469 respectively, all in the ‘severe’ category. In a letter to chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, EPCA chairman Bhure Lal said: “The air quality in Delhi and NCR deteriorated further last night and is now at the ‘severe plus level’. We have to take this as a public heath emergency as it will have adverse health impacts on all, particularly our children.” He added that construction activities in Delhi, Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida will not be allowed till November 5 morning. Mr. Lal said the deterioration in air quality is due to a combination of accumulated toxins because of local pollution, further spiked by bursting of crackers on Deepavali, stubble burning and extremely adverse weather conditions. He added that the India Meteorological Department has said that the weather will improve in the coming days, but it is difficult to say if it would lead to any substantial reduction in pollution levels. An urgent meeting of the CPCB was also convened during which it was discussed that stubble burning contribution to pollution has gone up to 45%, resulting in the current high particulate matter concentration. The agency advised people to minimise their outdoor activities during the period. Meanwhile, there has been an increase in the number of people complaining of respiratory problems post-Deepavali. Arvind Aggarwal, senior consultant, internal medicine, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, said: “We have witnessed a rise in the number of people reporting to hospitals with respiratory and eye problems. An increase of 20%-22% patients has been seen in the OPD. People are facing symptoms associated with pollution like irritation in the eyes and throat, dry skin, skin allergies, chronic cough and breathlessness. We recommend asthmatic patients, elderly and kids should stay at home.”last_img read more

first_imgWith the Twenty20 title already in his kitty, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday said he wants to lift the upcoming ICC World Cup in the sub-continent as the coveted trophy is the ultimate dream of every cricketer.India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. APDhoni, under whose leadership India won the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in 2008, said his burning desire is to see India capture the trophy for its fans.”Every one of us in the India dressing room wants to lift that cup, not only for ourselves, but also for the billions of fans we have around the globe. It is not a surprise to me as it doesn’t get any bigger than the World Cup.”It is the ultimate dream of every cricketer to represent his country in this competition and win the trophy at least once in his career. It will require a lot of hard work, self belief and also a positive approach which Team India is capable of displaying at the highest level,” Dhoni said during a promotional ICC event in Cape Town to mark the 50-day countdown celebrations of the mega-event starting next month.With little more than a month to go for the tournament, Dhoni said he can feel the buzz around him.”With just 50 days remaining before we launch our campaign to win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, I can clearly feel and sense the tremendous excitement which is gripping the cricket fraternity,” he said.Commenting on his side’s preparations for the World Cup, the wicket-keeper batsman said: “I’m happy with our preparations so far as we have gelled well, we have backed each other all the way and have played some excellent cricket lately.advertisement”But we are also aware that we need to peak at the right time and maintain a winning momentum as the competition will be tough and every team will enter the event fancying its chances.””Each team and match will bring a fresh challenge and we will have to play to our potential every time we take the field,” he added.The charismatic India captain urged the spectators to play their part in making the event the most successful ever.”I also take this opportunity to urge the India public and spectators to support the tournament and all the teams taking part in it. I would love to see every stadium packed to capacity even when we are not playing,” Dhoni said.”With billions of eyes following the World Cup on television, this would be another great opportunity for us to showcase our love and passion for this great sport. Let us all unite and make the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in the subcontinent the best ever,” he added.The tournament begins in Mirpur, Dhaka, on February 19 with the India taking on co-hosts Bangladesh in the opener.During the event at the picturesque and world famous V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on Saturday evening, the World Cup trophy was put on display and an official promotional film was revealed to celebrate the arrival of the game’s flagship event.Among others present at the occassion were ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat, South Africa captain Graeme Smith and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.South Africa captain Graeme Smith, whose side opens its campaign against two-time champions West Indies in New Delhi on February 24, said: “I can’t believe that the World Cup is only 50 days away! The spectacular way that 50 days to the World Cup was marked is a pointer to the magnitude of the event.””As a unit, we are looking to make sure we head into the showpiece with the best preparation possible. The five-match ODI series against India starting on January 12 will be our last chance to make sure we are fully prepared and we hope to bring home the silverware,” Smith said.ICC chief Lorgat said he was delighted to see the interest and excitement amongst the players and followers of the game for the tournament.”With 50 days to go before cricket’s flagship event starts, key players are starting to think and talk a lot more about the World Cup. The players will soon start with their World Cup focus and preparation and the related anticipation across the world will escalate with each passing day,” Lorgat said.Lorgat also urged all the three host countries — India, Sri Lanka Bangladesh — to step up their preparations and complete all the infrastructure work in time to successfully stage a world-class event.”We must do our utmost to complete all the necessary work to deliver another memorable event,” he added.advertisementLorgat also thanked the host countries and ICC’s commercial partners for their excellent work to date.With inputs from PTIlast_img read more