The Supreme Court-mandated anti-pollution authority EPCA on Wednesday ordered schools in Delhi-NCR to be closed for the next two days as pollution in the city reached severe-plus levels.
It has advised people to avoid outdoor exposure and work from home wherever feasible as unfavourable weather conditions pushed the pollution levels in the city towards the “emergency” zone for the third time in the last 15 days.
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority has also extended the ban on hot-mix plants and stone-crushers in Delhi-NCR till November 15.
All coal and other fuel-based industries, which have not shifted to natural gas or agro-residue, will remain shut in Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Noida, Bahadurgarh, Bhiwadi, Greater Noida, Sonepat and Panipat till November 15, it said.
In Delhi, industries which have not yet shifted to piped natural gas, will not operate during the period.
At 11:30 am on Wednesday, Delhi’s overall air quality index read 454. Jahangirpuri and Rohini were the most-polluted areas with an AQI of 483 each, followed by Mundka (479) and Bawana (479).
Faridabad (436), Ghaziabad (468), Greater Noida (459), Gurgaon (450) and Noida (469) also choked on extremely polluted air.
According to weather reports, a fall in the temperature and wind speed led to the accumulation of pollutants. The problem was compounded by a cloud cover that blocked sunlight.