Delhi's air improved slightly but remained 'very poor' on Tuesday, a day after the state government lifted the ban on construction and demolition activities.
The national capital's Air Quality Index (AQI) was 315 --'very poor'-- at 8 am, according to the state-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR). Readings below 50 are considered safe, while anything above 300 is considered hazardous or 'severe'.
Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai, after holding a meeting, on Monday ordered the resumption of construction and demolition activities in the wake of an improvement in the air quality and inconvenience caused to workers in the national capital. The activities were banned last week in order to bring down the pollution level in the capital.
On resumption of work-from-office for government staff and reopening of schools, colleges and other educational institutions, Rai said the state government will take a call on Wednesday. "We will also discuss if CNG-operated trucks carrying non-essential items can be allowed to enter Delhi if the situation continues to improve," he added.
Delhi's air became worse after Diwali on November 4 as people violated a ban on bursting firecrackers while the pollution compounded due to an increase in stubble burning by farmers in areas adjoining the national capital.
Delhi was the third most polluted city on the planet with an AQI of 207, said iQair, a website that tracks air pollution worldwide. The only other Indian city on the website’s list of 10 was Kolkata. Bengal's capital city was the fourth most polluted city worldwide with an AQI of 184.