Amid growing concerns over the deteriorating air quality in the Delhi-NCR region, the Centre directed the Delhi government to implement emergency measures, including work from home for 50 per cent of staff in government and private offices. Among several measures, the Centre also prohibited the entry of polluting trucks and commercial four-wheelers into the capital.
These actions mark the concluding phase, known as Stage IV, of the Centre's air pollution control strategy. This phase is initiated whenever the Air Quality Index is on the brink of exceeding the 450 threshold in the capital city and is typically enacted at least three days in advance. The final stage of a comprehensive pollution control plan has been put into effect, compelling authorities to take decisive steps to curb air pollution in the region.
To tackle vehicular emissions, a ban has been imposed on the entry of polluting trucks and commercial four-wheelers within Delhi. Only vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), electricity, or conforming to Bharat Stage VI (BS VI) emission standards from other states are allowed to enter Delhi.
Ban on non-essential construction work
On Thursday, the pollution control body ordered a ban on non-essential construction work and specific categories of polluting vehicles.
Closure of schools for two days
The Delhi government has also announced the closure of all primary schools for two days in an effort to safeguard young children from health-threatening pollution.
The city's air quality index worsened from 415 at 4 pm on Saturday to 463 at 3 pm on Sunday, due to unfavourable meteorological conditions and a spike in stubble-burning incidents in neighbouring states.
The air crisis is not confined to Delhi alone; several cities in neighbouring Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh have also reported hazardous air quality.
(With PTI inputs)