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Delhi air again dips to 'very poor' category as AQI increases to 339

The national capital's Air Quality Index (AQI) was 339 --'very poor'-- at 8 am, according to SAFAR

Delhi (Photo: Bloomberg)
Photo: Bloomberg

Delhi’s air was polluted Thursday morning a day after the Supreme Court asked the central and state governments to continue with measures to reduce the smog that has lasted for weeks now.

The national capital's Air Quality Index (AQI) was 339 --'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'.

"This is the national capital. Look at the signals we are sending to the world. You can stop these activities in anticipation itself so the severe grade does not happen," said on Wednesday a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana as it chided the centre and states.

Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said that only CNG-run and electric vehicles will be allowed entry into the national capital from November 27, while other vehicles will remain banned till December 3. 

"Schools, colleges, libraries and other educational institutions will also be reopened from November 29 onwards," he said. 

Delhi was the most polluted city on the planet with an AQI of 348, 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 second fifth polluted city worldwide with an AQI of 174.

The national capital's air quality 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.