NEW DELHI: As the air quality in the national capital deteriorated further, a Supreme Court-mandated panel on Friday asked schools to curtail all outdoor activities and sports till November 5 to minimise exposure of children to pollution.
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority also asked public authorities to issue advisories asking people to minimise their personal exposure to pollution as far as possible.
"People have also been advised to not exercise in the open till the pollution level reduces and special care should be taken of the children, aged and vulnerable population.
"This is a grave situation and I am hoping for your personal intervention so that there is stringent enforcement and full compliance with the directions issued," EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said his government has decided to shut schools till November 5 in the wake of "severe" pollution in the national capital.
Lal said schools have been advised to curtail all outdoor activities and sports till November 5 to minimise exposure of children to the pollution which has slipped into hazardous level on Friday.
The EPCA declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR region and banned construction activity till November 5.
As the pollution levels in the region entered the "severe-plus" category", the EPCA also banned the bursting of crackers during the winter season.
The blanket of haze over Delhi thickened on Friday morning with the national capital's pollution levels increasing overnight.
Lal said pollution touched "severe plus" levels early on Friday morning but came back to "severe" category later.
According to official data, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) at 1 pm on Friday was recorded at 480, which falls in the "severe" category.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered 'good', 51-100 'satisfactory', 101-200 'moderate', 201-300 'poor', 301-400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe'.
Above 500 falls in the 'severe-plus emergency' category.
Earlier, the EPCA had banned construction activities only for the period between 6 pm and 10 am till November 2.
Now, no construction can take place even in daytime.