The government in Delhi has placed restrictions on non-essential construction and entry of diesel vehicles into the city as the air quality in the national capital reached a hazardous level on Thursday.
All government and private primary schools in Delhi remained closed on Thursday and Friday while classes for others were recommended to be held online.
The restrictions have been imposed as part of stage III of the graded action plan (GRAP) under the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM).
At a meeting to review the air quality of Delhi-NCR, the CAQM said that the pollution levels are only “expected to increase further” owing to unfavorable meteorological and climate conditions.
Light commercial four-wheeler cars and diesel vehicles are prohibited from entering the national capital and districts of Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, and Gautam Buddh Nagar.
Air quality in several parts of Delhi downgraded up to severe category on Friday, with Air Quality Index (AQI) crossing 400, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
An AQI between zero to 50 is considered “good”,51 and 100 “Satisfactory”,101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”,301 and 400 “very poor” and 401 and 500,” severe”.
According to the weather department, the national capital is likely to witness shallow fog in the next three days.
SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research)-India data showed that Delhi’s overall AQI was measured at 336 on 1 November, falling into the ‘Very Poor’ category.
Every year Delhi experiences peak pollution in October-November when incidents of stubble-burning take place in neighboring Punjab and Haryana, as per an analysis by the Delhi Pollution Control Board.
According to CAQM, the number of stubble-burning incidents in Punjab and Haryana since 15 September has reduced by around 56% and 40%, respectively, compared to the corresponding period last year.
Air pollution dampens World Cup cheers
Besides Delhi, Mumbai is also facing worsening air with AQI hovering around 200 on Thursday. India skipper Rohit Sharma raised concerns regarding the air pollution in the metropolis and urged change for “future generations”.
The air pollution in India has also affected the cricket World Cup, currently underway across cities. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), India’s cricket governing body and the hosts of the World Cup, announced this week to not allow firework displays during the remaining matches of the tournament.
Media reports said English players complained of breathing difficulties and have resorted to using inhalers.
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