Misty morning in Delhi air quality drops to very poor

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However, the air quality of the region continues to be in the "very poor" category making it hard for people to carry out outdoor activities.

To control the rising level of air pollution in Delhi, Union Environment minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that the companies not complying with antiu-pollution guidelines will soon be prosecuted under criminal charges.

Officials said the situation was because of construction dust, vehicular pollution, and crop stubble burning from Punjab and Haryana.

Air quality in Delhi-NCR is likely to worsen from November 1 when pollution caused by paddy stubble burning in Punjab-Haryana is expected to impact the region, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has warned and asked the NCR states to be especially careful.

While the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi was 366 on a scale of 0 to 500, considered "very-poor", the same was 415 in Ghaziabad and 403 in Gurugram - both signifying "severe".

Shutdown of coal and biomass based industries (excluding thermal and waste-to-energy plants) from November 4 to 10, intensification of efforts by transport department to check polluting vehicles and controlling traffic congestion in Delhi-NCR between November 1 and 10. Twenty-nine monitoring stations located in different parts of the city recorded very poor air quality while four stations recorded severe air quality.

The task force also issued an advisory to the public, asking them to avoid outdoor strenuous activities and minimise the use of private vehicles.

Experts have projected that air quality may dip further in the coming days, especially from the beginning of the next month, due to adverse weather conditions and approaching winter. "The weather conditions include wind direction, temperature etc", he said.

The most recent air pollution data from the World Health Organisation released in March said India was one of the world's 10 most polluted countries.

Fugitive dust from construction and demolition (C&D) work is also said to be a major reason for air pollution in Delhi-NCR. The highest AQI of this season was recorded on Friday at 361.

The recommendations of the health advisory included people with heart or lung diseases, older adults and children to avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.

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