Thu, Dec 8, 2016 | updated 01:40 AM IST

Delhiites take to streets for their right to breathe

Updated: Nov 06, 2016 11:57 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov. 6 (ANI): As the pall of smoggy gloom suffocates all and cripples life in the national capital, the people from all walks of life geared up to carry out a series of protests beginning today to fight for their right to breathe.

The national capital, considered to be the world's most polluted city, hit a new low the past week.

As millions struggle with hacking coughs and burning eyes, many schools across the city have either shut down or ended all outdoor activities.

Several mask-clad children and concerned citizens were seen protesting at the Jantar Mantar here against the rising pollution level.

They were seen holding placards which read 'Be the solution to the pollution', 'Don't Let Our Future Go Up In Smog', Go Green 2 Breathe' and so on.

"My grand children have recently shifted from America. They used to play football but now they can't play it here. The pollution is affecting the children. Unless we do something, this won't get resolved. Unhealthy citizen is an unhealthy nation. This problem is there for years. If today we stand up for this then we might get some result in the coming days," Sanjiv Kumar, one of the protestors, told ANI.

Equating breathing in Delhi with that of smoking a pack of cigarettes per day, another protestor said the air in the national capital is getting worse day by day.

"Till now, it has never happened that schools have to be closed in Delhi. The air in Delhi is getting worse day by day. We can't raise our children like this. It has to be both government and individual citizen.kind of a comfort effort. This is becoming from bad to worse. Breathing in Delhi is like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day," she said.

"This is happening due to the government. During the time of Sheila Dikshit, it was a complete clean environment. Here we have little children, who are suffering from diseases like asthma. It has become an emergency situation for Delhi," she added.

Another protestor said that they would hold such protests every Sunday.

"Everyone in Delhi is getting affected with this air pollution. We need a committed and consistent effort for this. This is an emergency, a crisis. The politicians need to listen to us," he said.

Meanwhile, social activist Nafisa Ali voiced her opinion against the use of crackers during the festival of lights Diwali and said the situation of rising level of air pollution in Delhi will change if everybody contemplates over the same.

"This situation will change only when we ponder over this. One should not use crackers during Diwali. The Odd-Even scheme was very much successful for change. We should support that. I would request everyone not to use cars and use cycle, metro or just walk for three days," she added.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called for an emergency meeting this afternoon to take stock of the recent measures announced to combat the soaring pollution-level in the national capital.

Technologies like jet sprinkling and the dust sweep machine will be discussed at length during the meeting to be held at Kejriwal's residence.

This development comes in the wake of the Centre calling a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday to put an end to crop burning as Delhi's pollution rises to alarming level.

Kejriwal had met Union Environment Minister Anil Dave yesterday and sought the Centre's intervention following which the latter declared an emergency situation in Delhi.

Dave said the present circumstances are quite bad, particularly for children, patients, women and the elderly.

Kejriwal has, however, blamed the practice of crop burning in Haryana and Punjab for the pollution in the national capital, as air quality in the city dips to its worst in 17 years.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has also called a high-level meeting on the issue tomorrow during which immediate, short-term and long-term measures to combat the growing air pollution in the city are to be discussed.

Earlier on Saturday, the first day's play of two Ranji Trophy games in New Delhi was cancelled due to poor light caused by smog.

The players complained of irritation in eyes and breathing problems.

The matches cancelled were Group A league encounter between Bengal and Gujarat at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium and Group C match at Karnail Singh Stadium between Tripura and Hyderabad. (ANI)