New Delhi: The air quality in Delhi on Tuesday (November 16, 2021) morning remained in the ‘very poor’ category for the third consecutive day. According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the national capital’s overall air quality index (AQI) at 6:20 AM was at 331.

The AQI in Delhi University’s North Campus area was at 356, while the Mathura road recorded an AQI of 349. Pusa road saw an AQI of 319 and IIT Delhi of 319. 

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.

According to authorities, the air quality in Delhi has deteriorated marginally on Monday and no improvement is predicted over the next few days.

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Earlier on Monday, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to call an emergency meeting on Tuesday to decide on measures like stopping non-essential constructions, transport and power plants by Tuesday evening.

The apex court also took note of the Centre’s submission that stubble burning is not a major contributor to Delhi’s air pollution and suggested that the city focus on dust, industry and vehicular emissions.

Subsequently, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai also held a meeting with officials of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to discuss ways to increase the carrying capacity of the capital’s public transport system.

“DMRC and DTC have been asked to prepare a plan in this regard within two days,” he said and added that the Arvind Kejriwal-led government is willing to take more steps to resolve the issue.

“We have been making efforts on our end to reduce our share of pollution. We are ready to do more and take more new steps. We are ready to implement the suggestions of the Supreme Court and experts, if any,” he said.

The share of stubble burning in Delhi’s pollution stood at 10 per cent on Monday, the lowest since Diwali (November 4). 

This is noteworthy that on average, farm fires have accounted for around 25 per cent of the PM2.5 pollution in Delhi from November 1 to November 15.

According to an analysis by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), people in the national capital breathe the worst air between November 1 and November 15 every year, as unhelpful meteorological conditions trap pollutants from local sources and stubble burning in neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

Meanwhile, in a step to check the air pollution, the Delhi government on Saturday had announced the closure of physical classes in schools, colleges and other educational institutions for a week from Monday. All government offices, agencies and autonomous bodies, except those involved in essential services, have also been asked to work from home. The government had also announced that no construction and demolition activity is allowed in the national capital till November 17. 

(With agency inputs)

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