Delhi's air was toxic on Tuesday as the state government extended a ban on construction and demolition till further orders to ease a pollution crisis that has lasted weeks.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) was 362 --'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 on Monday said the ban on construction and demolition activities in Delhi will continue till further orders in view of the high air pollution levels. He added that the ban on the entry of trucks, barring those engaged in essential services, will continue till December 7, while CNG and electric trucks will be allowed to enter Delhi.
This came as physical classes in schools, colleges and other education institutions, and government offices reopened on Monday.
Low temperature and low wind speed have led to stagnant conditions in Delhi, according to experts, who added that the air quality in the national capital is likely to remain very poor in the coming days.
Delhi was this morning the second most polluted city on the planet with an AQI of 240, said iQair, a website that tracks air pollution worldwide. The only other Indian city on the website’s list of 10 was Kolkata being the fourth most polluted city worldwide with an AQI of 207.
After Diwali on November 4, Delhi's air quality became worse 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.
Air pollution costs Indian businesses $95 billion or roughly 3 per cent of its GDP every year, according to U.K.-based non-profit Clean Air Fund and the Confederation of Indian Industry, Bloomberg has reported.