Smog Envelops Delhi 2 Days Before Diwali, Air Quality May Worsen

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Air pollution spiked overnight in the entire region to "very poor" category, with Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi being 392 at 9 a.m. Beside banning construction in Delhi-NCR zone and shutting down industries that run on coal and biomass, EPCA has urged Delhiites to use public transport until November 10. Earlier, the air quality was on the brink of slipping into severe category.

A woman walks along the road on a smoggy morning in Delhi.

Air quality in the city worsens every year in November and December as farmers in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana burn crop stubble to clear their fields.

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According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (Safar), at least 33% of the pollutants originated from fires in farms in Punjab and Haryana, where farmers set fire to crop residue ahead of the next round of sowing later this month.

It is to be noted that private vehicles contribute to 40 percent of pollution in Delhi NCR and there about 35 lakh private vehicles in Delhi NCR region.

Shamika Ravi, a members of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, tweeted today: 'Haven't heard a single firecracker in Delhi, yet the air purifiers are blazing red - showing unsafe levels of pollution.

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According to forecasts, the air pollution might relent to "very poor" category - when AQI is between 300 and 400 - on Tuesday before it starts climbing back up again from Wednesday.

Mr Hussain also directed all senior officers of MCDs, PWD, New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to "step up their efforts to ensure no local factors of air pollution remain ignored". The GRAP is an emergency plan implemented in phases to combat pollution depending upon the air quality of the city.

An aggressive 10 day-long "Clean Air Campaign" was also launched by Harsh Vardhan.

In a response to Supreme Court's observation regarding the setting up of social media accounts, the Central Pollution Control Board today said, "a social media account on Facebook & Twitter has been created to allow citizens to complaints about pollution & so far it has received 18 complaints".

Al stone crushers, hot mix plants generating dust pollution to remain closed in the districts during the period, it said.

EPCA has also requested people in Delhi to avoid using private vehicles between November 1 and November 10.