A sudden deterioration in air quality in Delhi has prompted the Delhi government to institute a two-day closure of primary schools. The neighboring city of Gurugram has also taken measures to address the worsening pollution situation.
Delhi’s Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, communicated via Twitter, “In response to the escalating pollution levels, all government and private primary schools in Delhi will remain closed for the next two days.”
In light of the worsening air quality, the Central Pollution Control Panel has enforced a ban on non-essential construction activities in the National Capital Region, which encompasses Gautam Budh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, and Gurugram. Additionally, the entry of diesel trucks into the city has been restricted.
As part of Stage III of the Graded Action Response Plan, a range of other measures will be implemented to address the yearly surge in pollution in the Capital and its surrounding regions.
The Gurugram District Magistrate has enacted a prohibition on the burning of waste materials, including items like garbage, leaves, plastic, and rubber, with penalties for violations.
Delhi’s Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, has convened a meeting on Friday to discuss the effective execution of Stage III of the Graded Response Action Plan. He stated, “A meeting involving all relevant departments has been scheduled for Friday at 12 pm to deliberate on the successful implementation of Stage III of GRAP,” as conveyed to ANI.
The air quality in Delhi has reached the “severe” level for the first time this season, registering a level of 402 by 5 pm. Scientists have issued warnings of further pollution increases over the next two weeks. Eighteen out of the thirty-seven monitoring stations in Delhi recorded Air Quality Index (AQI) readings in the “severe” category.
Locations where the AQI exceeded the 400-mark include Anand Vihar (450), Bawana (452), Burari Crossing (408), Dwarka Sector 8 (445), Jahangirpuri (433), Mundka (460), NSIT Dwarka (406), Najafgarh (414), Narela (433), Nehru Nagar (400), New Moti Bagh (423), Okhla Phase 2 (415), Patparganj (412), Punjabi Bagh (445), R K Puram (417), Rohini (454), Shadipur (407), and Wazirpur (435).
When the AQI level surpasses 400, it is categorized as ‘severe,’ indicating that air pollution can impact not only individuals with preexisting health conditions but also affect the general population’s health.
Data from the Central Pollution Control Board reveals that Delhi’s air quality in October was the worst since 2020, with meteorologists attributing this to the absence of rainfall.
Additionally, Punjab witnessed a 740% surge in farm fires on Sunday, with 1,068 fires reported across the state, marking the highest number in a single day during the ongoing harvesting season. These incidents were even visible in satellite images.