Delhi's air quality remained 'very poor' Thursday, with seven areas recording 'severe' pollution level even as pollution watchdog CPCB issued a show-cause notice to the city government's Irrigation and Flood Control Department for not containing open burning of waste at Shahdara drain.
The CPCB recorded an overall air quality index (AQI) of 355. An AQI between 201 and 300 is considered 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor' and 401 and 500 is 'severe'.
The air quality in seven areas -- Anand Vihar, Ashok Vihar, Mundka, Nehru Nagar, Rohini, Vivek Vihar and Wazirpur -- was recorded in 'severe' category. It was 'very poor' in 21 areas and 'poor' in three areas, the CPCB said.
The overall PM2.5 (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometre) level was recorded at 213 and the PM10 level at 397, it said.
The Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) said the overall air quality of Delhi continues to remain in the 'very poor' range.
"The overall air quality over Delhi continues to remain 'very poor'. It will remain in 'very poor' category with small fluctuations in the next three days. Meteorological conditions are improving but not yet fully favourable," it said.
According to the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, the maximum ventilation index was likely around 7,500 sqm/second on Thursday.
A ventilation index lower than 6,000 sqm/second with average wind speed of less than 10 kmph is unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants, it said.
The CPCB, meanwhile, issued a show-cause notice to Delhi government's Irrigation and Flood Control Department, asking why it should not be prosecuted for not containing open burning of waste at Shahdara drain.
It also asked why a fine Rs 1 crore should not be imposed upon the department over non-compliance of directions.
Calling open dumping of waste a major cause of air pollution affecting human health, CPCB Chairperson S P Parihar said during inspection of Shahdara drain between November 1 and 5, it was found that industrial solid waste was burnt and dumped at several stretches along the drain.
"Three incidents of waste burning were cited during November 4-5. Local residents have also reported several cases of waste burning along the drain which has caused air pollution," Parihar said in the notice dated December 3.
He said the inspections were carried out during clean air campaign from November 1-10 by teams comprising officials from Environment Ministry, CPCB, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the local civic body.
The campaign was launched by the Environment Ministry to monitor and report polluting activities and ordered halting of construction activities and regulating vehicular traffic.
Parihar asked in the notice that why officials from the Irrigation and Flood Control Department should not be prosecuted and "why you should not be held responsible for open burning and dumping of waste in Shahdara drain".
On December 2, the CPCB sent show-cause notices to municipal bodies SDMC and EDMC for failing to check air polluting activities under their jurisdiction, asking why their commissioners should not be prosecuted for inaction.
In two separate notices issued on November 29, the watchdog asked for an explanation as to why action should not be initiated for prosecution of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) commissioners for "failing to effectively control air polluting incidence" under their jurisdiction.
The Supreme Court had last week asked the CPCB to prosecute government officials for not acting on around 250 complaints received by it from citizens.
"Why don't you prosecute these officials? You should prosecute them.
"Let these people realise what they have done, the top court had told the CPCB.
Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority Chairperson Bhure Lal had also lashed out at enforcement agencies, alleging that Delhi's civic and urban bodies are "not properly implementing" the directions issued to curb pollution.
Delhi has been battling alarming levels of pollution for over a month with the air quality oscillating between 'poor' and 'severe' categories, which has prompted authorities to adopt a slew of measures.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)