On Saturday morning, the city’s total Air Quality Index (AQI) was 431, and the air quality in Delhi remained in the “severe” category for the third day in a row.
The city was covered in a heavy haze, mostly due to unfavorable weather and field fires in Punjab. According to official statistics released Friday, Punjab’s stubble burning was responsible for 34% of Delhi’s PM 2.5 pollution.
In several regions, the level of PM2.5, or lung-damaging tiny particles, was above 460 micrograms per cubic meter, or almost eight times the acceptable limit of 60 micrograms per cubic meter.
At 7 am this morning, Noida and Gurugram in the national capital region (NCR) area registered AQI values of 529 and 478, respectively. An AQI of 534 was measured in Dhirpur, West Delhi.
Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, said on Friday that primary schools in the city would be shuttered starting today due to the deteriorating air quality. Gopal Rai, the environment minister, said that 50% of Delhi’s government employees would work remotely.
Classes V through VII won’t be allowed outside until the city’s air quality improves.
According to Mr. Kejriwal, reported by the news agency PTI, “We are also thinking about putting the odd-even arrangement for the operation of cars” into practice.
According to Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, greater stubble burning results from a record crop harvest. He did ensure that measures were being taken to lessen the burning.
“To bury the stubble, we are acting as though there are 1.20 lakh machines. Resolutions to halt stubble burning have also been adopted by panchayats. By November next year, we commit to reducing stubble burning, “said Mr. Mann.
Environment minister Gopal Rai declared Delhi’s prohibition on light motor vehicles powered by non-BS VI diesel. Additionally, 500 privately operated CNG buses will be part of the new “Paryavaran Bus Service,” also announced by Mr. Rai.