Air quality in Delhi still 'severe'

Air quality in Delhi still 'severe'

The air quality in the national capital region showed a marginal improvement, but continued to be in the "severe" range, with the city still covered under a shroud of toxic pollutants and no respite in sight.

According to the National Air Quality Index of the Central Pollution Control Board, the air quality in several cities in the northern parts of the country ranked in the "severe" category, with Delhi clocking 434 on a scale of 500, adjoining Gurugram (418), Lucknow (433), Agra (449) and Varanasi (422). On Friday, Delhi had recorded an AQI of 468 as against 486 on Thursday.

With no respite in sight and the capital continuing to experience calm weather, the government rolled out a slew of short-term measures such as a strict enforcement of a ban on entry of trucks carrying non-essential supplies to Delhi.

Long queues of trucks were seen at border check points with traffic police and Delhi government authorities ensuring that only vehicle carrying essential supplies enter the national capital.

The weather office has forecast no respite till early Monday when a fresh western disturbance may bring some wind and rain to the northwestern plains. Delhi and adjoining ares are likely to experience moderately foggy conditions on Sunday.

The low visibility has affected road and rail traffic. Reports said the United Airlines has temporarily suspended the Newark-Delhi flights due to poor air quality concerns.

Schools across the capital and some of its adjoining areas have been ordered shut till Sunday and the government is expected to review the situation to decide on an extenstion of the forced holiday.

An environment ministry statement said that watering of unpaved roads is being carried out on a large-scale in the national capital and civil construction activities have been stopped for the moment.

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