Delhi's air pollution levels peaked on Friday morning as it recorded the worst air quality of this season just two days before Diwali.
The city's overall air quality index (AQI) stood at 315 at 8:30 am on Friday.
Most of the places in the national capital recorded the AQI in the "very poor" category, while the situation inched towards "severe" in some areas.
According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), decreased wind speed has led to the accumulation of pollutants and in turn, affected dispersion resulting in 'very poor' air quality in the national capital.
An AQI between 0 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 monitoring body, under the Ministry of Earth Science, has forecast PM10 and PM 2.5 pollutant levels in Delhi to stay in the 'poor' and 'very poor' category for the next three days.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Delhi is the fourth most polluted city in the world in terms of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM). It is a major concern for both the citizens and the government as air pollution leads to increased health problems.
As much as 35% of citizens have given up on administration’s ability to enforce against pollution and want to move out of Delhi NCR, as per a 2018 survey.
The Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority is expected to take a call on Friday on several recommendations made by a 10-member anti-pollution task force to tackle the worsening situation.
The recommendations include banning construction work at night in Delhi-NCR from October 26 to 30 and closure of industries that have not switched to piped natural gas.
Anticipating a rise in pollution, which generally takes place during this time of the year owing to a range of issues and turns the air in the national capital toxic, Delhi government imposed its "odd-even rule" earlier this month from November 4-15. The scheme tries to ease air pollution by decreasing the number of vehicles on the road and allows odd-numbered cars to run on odd dates and even-numbered cars on even dates.
Additionally, Green firecrackers, developed by a gamut of laboratories led by government research institute CSIR-NEERI, have finally hit the markets this Diwali. However, they have come in less quantity, mainly due to delay in finalising chemical compositions and granting manufacturing licences.
With Delhi's air quality plummeting to dangerous levels around Diwali every year, the Supreme Court last year banned polluting firecrackers and ordered that only green firecrackers, which cause 30 per cent less pollution, can be manufactured and sold.