NEW DELHI: As the air quality plummeted to 'severe' category, schools in Delhi and NCR have been directed to remain closed for the next two days.
In its order, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) ordered industries using coal and other such fuels and hot mix plants to remain shut till Friday, November 15.
"Hot mix plants, stone crushers to be closed till the morning of November 15 in all NCR districts. All coal and other fuel-based industries, which have not shifted to natural gas or agro-residue (with exception to power-plants) to remain closed in Faridabad, Gurugram, Noida, Greater Noida, Sonepat, Panipat and Bahadurgarh and Bhiwadi till November 15. In Delhi industries, which have not yet shifted to PNG to remain closed till November 15," the EPCA said in a statement on Wednesday.
"In addition, keeping in mind the hazardous exposure to children, CPCB Taskforce gas recommended, which EPCA is directing, that all schools must remain shut for the next two days," the statement added.
All government and private schools in Gautam Budh Nagar district will also remain closed on November 14 and 15 due to rising pollution levels.
The overall air quality index (AQI) in Delhi and NCR region today entered the 'severe' category again with not much improvement expected for the next two days. According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the overall air quality of the national capital docked at 472 as of 7:30 pm.
In an attempt to reduce traffic congestion and tackle pollution, the odd-even road rationing scheme began in the national capital from November 4 and will go on till November 15. The initiative is applicable from 8 am to 8 pm. It was not applicable on November 10, Sunday.
The road rationing scheme prohibits plying of private vehicles based on the last digit of their registration numbers. Vehicles with even digits are only allowed to ply on even days, and those with odd numbers on odd days.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has repeatedly blamed both Haryana and Punjab governments for the noxious smog that has enveloped Delhi and its adjoining regions as a result of the burning of crop residue in the two states.