Delhi and places nearby were engulfed in a smog on Thursday as air pollution reached emergency levels, prompting authorities to shut schools and warn that a traffic rationing measure could be extended.
Air quality index (AQI) in the national was 472 with particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels at 322 and PM 10 levels at 487 at 6:30 am on Thursday.
An AQI between 201 and 300 is considered 'poor', 301-400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe'. An AQI above 500 falls in the 'severe plus' category.Particulate matter is the sum of all solid and liquid particles suspended in air many of which are hazardous, according to the Greenfacts.org website.
The pollution has prompted the authorities to order closure of schools till November 15 -- a second time in two weeks.
With the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) fearing a similar situation will prevail over the next two days, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the odd-even road rationing scheme can be extended if needed.
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) also extended the restrictions on dirty-fuel based industries in Delhi-NCR, hot mix plants and stone crushers till the morning of November 15, as the MeT department said strong winds are expected from Friday, which will bring down the air pollution levels to the very poor category.
According to weather experts, a fall in the temperature and wind speed led to the accumulation of pollutants. The problems were compounded by a cloud cover that blocked sunlight.
According to the government's air quality monitor SAFAR, the share of stubble burning in Delhi's pollution was 22 per cent on Wednesday. It was 25 per cent on Tuesday.
SC asks Delhi govt to submit data on pollution levels
The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the AAP-led Delhi government to provide data on pollution levels in the national capital from the date on which the odd-even scheme commenced till November 14. The court issued a notice to the Delhi government on a petition challenging the odd-even rationing scheme formulated by it.
The top court also asked the city government and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to provide data on the air quality index (AQI) from October 1 to December 31 of last year.
Factory sealed, 8 real estate projects get notice for pollution, 2 held in Noida
Two persons were arrested, a factory was sealed and eight real estate firms were slapped with penalties of Rs 5 lakh each on Wednesday for violating anti-pollution norms, the Gautam Buddh Nagar administration said.
The action was taken in Noida and Greater Noida as air quality deteriorated to 'severe' category, and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) once again ordered restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR).
All schools in Ghaziabad, Noida shut for 2 days due to pollution
All government and private schools in Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad will remain shut on Thursday and Friday due to severe levels of air pollution.
Separate orders were issued on Wednesday by the district administrations of the adjoining Uttar Pradesh districts following directions from the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority in the evening.
The air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 471 in Ghaziabad, 461 in Greater Noida and 471 in Noida around 9.30 am on Wednesday. The air quality deteriorated further by night, as the AQI was recorded at 481 in Ghaziabad, 472 in Greater Noida and 479 in Noida, according to official data.
Punjab, Haryana gasp for breath as air quality deteriorates
Several districts in Punjab and Haryana reported air quality indices in the "severe" and "very poor" categories on Wednesday even as the number of stubble-burning incidents dropped in the two agrarian states over the past few days.
Haryana's Hisar and Bhiwani reported the worst air quality in the two states as their AQIs stood at 470 each, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said.
Faridabad had an AQI of 449, followed by Gurgaon (446), Jind (445), Fatehabad (430), Sirsa (415), Rohtak (412) and Panipat (408). Kaithal (313), Karnal (316) and Kurukshetra (321) also choked on "very poor" air.