Thick Haze Covers Delhi, Schools Shut As Air Quality Remains 'Severe'

Air quality in Delhi's Lodhi Road, Jahangirpuri, RK Puram, and IGI Airport (T3) areas remains severe, with AQI readings of 438, 491, 486, and 473, respectively.

The air quality index in many areas has already exceeded 400.

New Delhi:

Delhi continued to be engulfed in a thick layer of smog on Friday, as the air quality in several parts of the national capital remained in the 'severe' category. The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) stood at 346, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Air quality in Delhi's Lodhi Road, Jahangirpuri, RK Puram, and IGI Airport (T3) areas remains severe, with AQI readings of 438, 491, 486, and 473, respectively. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is sprinkling water in the Lodhi Road area to try to improve the air quality.

In Uttar Pradesh's Noida, the AQI in Sector 62, Sector 1, and Sector 116 reached the 'severe' category. 

"Not only Delhi, the situation is the same across north India. All governments need to work together," Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said today. "I appeal to the people of Delhi to use public transport including metro and buses to control pollution due to vehicles."

"The decision on the further closure of schools in Delhi will be taken on the basis of air quality on November 6 (Monday). I appeal to the Union environment minister with folded hands to become active now. Entire north India is in the grip of air pollution," he added. 

The worsening air quality has prompted authorities to swiftly ban non-essential construction work and close primary schools in the capital to safeguard public health.

"We are in that time of year when pollution has started to increase again. The number of patients with breathing problems has increased, with more people having coughs, colds, watery and irritated eyes, and breathing problems. People of all ages are affected by this. It is time for us to wear masks and go out only when needed," Dr Nikhil Modi, Apollo Hospital, said as quoted by news agency ANI. 

The Delhi government on Wednesday announced a five-day ban on construction work in areas with an AQI above 400.

In an effort to reduce vehicular pollution, the government has launched the "Red Light On Gaadi Off" campaign and will hire 1,000 private CNG buses to bolster public transportation.

As farm fires rage and unfavorable weather persists, scientists fear a sharp rise in pollution levels in the Delhi-NCR region over the next two weeks. Medical professionals fear that soaring pollution levels will worsen asthma and lung problems in children and seniors.

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