The air quality in Delhi on Thursday slipped into the severe category with the AQI being recorded at 460. The Dwarka Sector 8 air monitoring centre recorded an air quality index of 496 and Nehru Nagar and JLN Stadium 492. An AQI between 0-50 is considered 'good', 51-100 'satisfactory', 101-200 'moderate', 201-300 'poor', 301-400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe'. An AQI above 500 falls in the 'severe plus' category.
The governments of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh all government and private schools in the Delhi and Noida will remain closed on Thursday and Friday after the Supreme Court-mandated anti-pollution authority EPCA on Wednesday ordered closure of schools in the region for the next two days as pollution hovered close to emergency levels.
On Wednesday, the noxious smog resulting from raging farm fires and unfavourable weather had pushed pollution in Delhi-NCR towards the “emergency” zone, prompting authorities to order closure of schools till November 15 -- a second time in two weeks.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) also advised people to avoid outdoor exposure and work from home. "Keeping in mind the hazardous exposure to children, the CPCB Task Force has recommended, which the EPCA is directing, that all schools must remain shut for the next two days," the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority said in a letter to the chief secretaries of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. The ban on the hot-mix plants and stone-crushers in Delhi-NCR has been extended till the morning of November 15, it said.
On November 4, the apex court banned construction and demolition activities in the region till further orders. All coal and other fuel-based industries, which have now shifted to natural gas or agro-residue, will remain shut in Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Noida, Bahadurgarh, Bhiwadi, Greater Noida, Sonepat, Panipat till November 15, the EPCA said.
In Delhi, industries which are yet to shift to piped natural gas will not operate during the period. On November 1, the Delhi government ordered closure of all schools till November 5 after the EPCA declared a public health emergency in Delhi-NCR due to a harmful spike in pollution post Diwali. Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in view of the situation, the odd-even road rationing scheme could be extended beyond November 15.