Delhi: Factories in key industrial areas to remain closed till Dec 26

Will implement odd-even scheme whenever required Kejriwal

The air pollution level in Indian capital city - New Delhi Monday became severe, officials said.

The overall PM2.5 level (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometre) was recorded at 271 and the PM10 level at 422 here, the CPCB said.

After four consecutive days of "severe" air pollution, Delhi's air quality improved to "very poor" and according to the weatherman, it is likely to remain in the same zone for the next three days, with dense fog engulfing the city.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was recently quoted by new agency ANI as saying, "If the need arises, we will soon implement the odd-even scheme in the capital".

According to the SAFAR, the overall air quality over Delhi is "very poor". The index was 4500 sqm/second on Monday, the IITM said.

"It is just that dispersal (of pollutants) is not happening because of the meteorological conditions".

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Battling the year's worst spell of air pollution, the Supreme Court-mandated pollution watchdog EPCA on Monday ordered a shutdown of industrial units and halted construction activities in Delhi-NCR till December 26.

The AQI between the range of 51 to 100 is considered as satisfactory, 101-200 is moderate, 201-300 falls under the category of poor. A ventilation index lower than 6000 sqm/second, with average wind speed less than 10 kmph, is unfavorable for dispersion of pollutants. "However, it could not happen in Patna on Tuesday due to less rainfall and continuous vehicular emission", said Birendra Kumar, public relations officer at Bihar State Pollution Control Board. Faridabad and Ghaziabad also recorded "severe" air quality, data showed. "The forecasting model predicts a faster improvement due to faster dispersion. The AQI will go back to the very poor category by tonight for next three days", it said, as reported by PTI.

"The ventilation index which allows dispersion (of pollutants) is extremely poor and it is expected that these conditions will prevail for the next two days", Lal said in the letter.

Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain Wednesday asked authorities to control local polluting factors such as garbage burning and dust, and warned of action against senior officials if they fail to comply with the directions.

Several areas like Shadipur, Anand Vihar and Lodhi road, among others, inched towards the "severe plus emergency" category, the data showed.

Stringent action includes emergency measures like auto rationing and a ban on construction activities. Experts say that the "severe" air quality level makes breathing hard even for healthy people.

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