Delhiites continue to wake up to thick layers of smog for three consecutive days as the air quality of Delhi still remains in the 'severe' category with an overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of 431.
Stubble burning to be blamed
Owing to to unfavourable meteorological conditions and farm fires in Punjab, the capital city witnessed a smog-covered Saturday morning. According to official data, stubble burning in Punjab is primarily responsible for 34 per cent of Delhi's PM 2.5 pollution.
In several areas, the concentration particulate matter 2.5, was above 460 micrograms per cubic metre which is around eight times above the safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metre.
According to Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, a massive paddy harvest has resulted in increased stubble burning. He also assured that steps are being taken to reduce the burning.
"We are taking steps like there are 1.20 lakh machines to bury stubble. Panchayats have also passed resolutions to stop stubble burning. We promise by November next year, stubble burning will reduce," CM Mann said.
Primary schools to remain closed
In view of the exacerbating air quality, Chief Minister Arvind kejriwal announced on Friday that primary schools in Delhi would be closed from today. Outdoor activities for classes V to VII will also be restricted until air quality in the city improves.
"We are also mulling over implementing the odd-even scheme for the running of vehicles," Mr Kejriwal said
Environment Minister Gopal Rai said that 50 per cent of Delhi government officers will work from home. A ban on non-BS VI diesel-run light motor vehicles has been announced in Delhi.
Mr Rai also announced the launch of 'Paryavaran Bus Service' which will include 500 privately-run CNG buses.