The air quality index (AQI) at New Delhi’s Anand Vihar area at 7 pm on Wednesday (November 17) was 410, which falls in the ‘severe category’ and indicates the multitude of challenges at hand in tackling the pollution challenge in the national capital.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that Delhiites should not expect any improvement until Sunday (November 21). Meanwhile, the city’s minimum temperature continues to drop which is unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants. The minimum temperature hovered around 9.6 degrees Celsius, which is three degrees below normal and the lowest for the season so far.
As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) the AQI for the areas around Delhi at 7 pm on Wednesday is as follows: Greater Noida (386), Gurugram (315), Faridabad (375), Hisar (313), Manesar (342), Meerut (308), Noida (327).
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”.
The Commission of Air Quality Management (CAQM) on Tuesday (November 16) directed that schools, colleges and educational institutions in the National Capital Region (NCR) will remain closed until further orders, allowing only online mode of education. The commission also that only five of the 11 thermal power plants located within 300 km radius of Delhi — NTPC, Jhajjar; Mahatma Gandhi TPS, CLP Jhajjar; Panipat TPS, HPGCL; Nabha Power Ltd. TPS, Rajpura and Talwandi Sabo TPS, Mansa — will remain operational till November 30.
The Delhi government had ordered the closure of physical classes in schools, colleges and other educational institutions for a week from Monday.
The Delhi government told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it can increase metro and bus frequencies. It requested the SC to order work from home, ban vehicles in periphery (adjoining states) too because simply stopping vehicular movement in Delhi won’t help.
Delhi’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai said that the process to hire 1,000 private CNG buses to increase the public transport in Delhi will begin on November 18. He said the metro-DTC have written to DDMA that the decision of allowing people only by sitting be reviewed. Standing in metro/DTC wasn’t allowed due to COVID.