Fresh restrictions kick in as air quality turns ‘severe’ in Delhi: Primary schools to remain shut

Primary schools in Delhi to remain shut on November 3 and 4; ban on all non-essential construction work; those found driving BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheelers in city to be fined ₹20,000

November 03, 2023 01:57 am | Updated 01:28 pm IST

Haze engulfs the elevated road in Ghaziabad on Thursday. Amid a surge in farm fires and unfavourable weather conditions, scientists have warned of a spike in pollution in the Delhi-NCR region in the next two weeks.

Haze engulfs the elevated road in Ghaziabad on Thursday. Amid a surge in farm fires and unfavourable weather conditions, scientists have warned of a spike in pollution in the Delhi-NCR region in the next two weeks. | Photo Credit: -

As the overall air quality slipped into the ‘severe’ category in the national capital for the first time this season on Thursday, a ban on construction and demolition activities, barring some essential projects, was declared by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in Delhi-NCR with “immediate effect”.

Later in the evening, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that all government and private primary schools in Delhi will remain closed on November 3 and 4 in view of rising pollution.

Also read |Delhi air pollution: What you need to know right now?

Delhi’s 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) was 392 at 4 p.m. on Thursday, up from 364 a day earlier, as per the Central Board of Pollution Control’s daily bulletin, which is considered the day’s official AQI. A higher value of AQI means an increase in air pollution. But by 7 p.m., the air quality of Delhi was 410 (‘severe’ category). At 11 p.m., it touched 427. An AQI reading 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’. While the AQI in Greater Noida was in the ‘severe’ category, the air quality in Gurugram remained ‘poor’ and Faridabad and Noida ‘very poor’.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), the Chief Minister said, “In light of the rising pollution levels, all government and private primary schools in Delhi will remain closed for the next two days.” In a separate communication, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) said physical classes in its schools will remain suspended for the next two days. While classes will be held online for students, schools will remain open for the teachers and staff members.

CAQM measures

A ban on plying of BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel light motor vehicles (LMVs, or four-wheelers) was also declared by the CAQM in Delhi and in the districts of Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, and Gautam Buddh Nagar. The restrictions will come into effect once the State governments issue orders to implement them. The Delhi Transport Department issued a directive stating that if BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel LMVs (four-wheelers) are found plying on the roads of the Capital, a fine of ₹20,000 will be levied.

The CAQM measures also include closing down all stone crushers, mining, and associated activities in the NCR. Delhi and NCR States have also been directed to take a decision on discontinuing physical classes in schools for children up to Class 5 and conducting online classes. These restrictions are part of a list of actions under Stage 3 of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), which is a set of emergency measures taken to reduce air pollution. “All actions as envisaged under Stage 3 of the GRAP must be implemented in the right earnest by all the agencies concerned in NCR with immediate effect,” an order issued by the CAQM read.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.