The air quality level in Delhi dipped to "very poor" category last night after the level of harmful pollutants shot up. The spike comes after firecrackers were burst as part of Dussehra celebrations even after repeated appeals by authorities to conduct eco-friendly celebrations.
On Saturday evening, a haze engulfed the city as the air quality nosedived.
A Central Pollution Control Board official said a number of other factors too were responsible for the worsening air quality, including vehicular pollution and construction activities and meteorological factor like direction of wind which is now flowing from the stubble burning areas.
The pollution levels in the capital shot up days after a set of emergency measures were put in place by the government to combat air pollution.
The Central Pollution Control Board had said that if the air quality dips to "very poor" category, parking fees will be hiked three to four times the current rates and the frequency of the metro and bus services will be increased.
When the air quality falls in the severe category, additional measures would be implemented like increasing frequency of sprinkling of water on roads and identifying road stretches with high dust generation.
If the pollution levels reach "severe+", a new category, authorities will stop the entry of trucks except those with essential goods and regulate the number of cars on the road. In such a situation, They will also stop construction activities and appoint a task force to take decision on any additional steps, including shutting of schools.
Pollution in Delhi and neighbouring areas spikes around this time due to stubble burning by farmers after the harvest in Punjab and Haryana and Diwali firecrackers. Satellite images from the NASA have already showed increasing burning of paddy stubble in the two states.
(With inputs from PTI)