27/10/2018 12:05 PM IST | Updated 27/10/2018 12:05 PM IST

Delhi Air Borders On Toxic, Pollution Board Says Stay Indoors, Avoid Outdoor Exercise And Ditch Private Vehicles

The Central Pollution Control Board also recommended shut down of of coal and biomass industries.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
A traffic cop in Delhi wears a mask to protect himself from the pollution.

NEW DELHI — Stringent measures, including minimisation of private vehicles and shutdown of coal and biomass industries, are recommended by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)-led task force between 1 and 10 November to deal with the alarming increase of pollution in the national capital.

The task force also advised public to avoid strenuous outdoor exercises to minimise their exposure to the toxic air, and cut down the use of private cars during the first 10 days of November.

The air quality in the city Friday recorded the worst on the pollution index this season, gradually inching towards the 'severe' category, with experts cautioning that the quality in Delhi-NCR might worsen from next month as wind is likely to come from the northwest direction.

In a meeting with representatives from the Environment Ministry, IMD, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Haryana Pollution Control Board and Delhi Pollution Control Board on Friday, the Central Pollution Control Board-led task force appraised the members on levels of air pollution in Delhi NCR showing an upward trend.

Siddharth Singh, representative from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), said Delhi's air quality which has deteriorated to very poor level would continue to remain in the same condition for the next few days.

It was also informed that at the beginning of November the situation may get further deteriorated on account of localised emissions during festival and regional contribution due to stubble burning, Singh was quoted as saying in the minutes of the meeting.

In view of this and considering previous years' experience, Task Force recommends certain additional measures as proactive steps to deal with the situation for consideration of Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority.

The measures include halt of all construction activities involving excavation, civil construction, stone crushers and hot mix plants in Delhi & other NCR during 1 and 10 November.

Coal and Biomass based Industries (excluding thermal and Waste to Energy Plants) to remain closed in Delhi NCR from November 4 10 and intensification of efforts by transport department to check polluting vehicles and control traffic congestion in Delhi NCR during November 1 - 10 were other measures.

The task force also recommended efforts to provide uninterrupted power supply in NCR towns to avoid requirement of operating diesel generator (DG) sets.

The pollution level in the national capital has deteriorated to alarming levels in the last two weeks. The reason behind the deterioration has been attributed to localised factors as well as stubble burning from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

The CPCB recorded the overall Air Quality Index of Delhi at 361 Friday evening, which falls in the 'very poor' category, but not very far from the 'severe' category.

An AQI between 0 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'.