A Central Pollution Control Board-led task force has advised people to minimise outdoor exposure for the next three to five days and avoid using private vehicles, with Delhi's air quality slipping into the severe category.
The national capital witnessed its second highest pollution level this year on Sunday with authorities saying unfavourable meteorological conditions are likely to keep the air quality in the severe category for the next couple of days.
While the Central Pollution Control Board data showed the overall air quality index (AQI) at 446, the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) gave a much higher AQI of 471.
The CPCB-led task force held a meeting on Saturday in response to the high PM2.5 (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometre) levels which climbed to the severe plus emergency category.
Exposure to PM2.5 pollutants can lead to diseases like cancer and increases chances of stroke.
A number of recommendations were made at the meeting to the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority: agencies to intensify ground actions to enforce measures already in place particularly to control emissions from vehicles and the burning of biomass.
The other recommendations made are: agencies concerned to increase surveillance to find industrial waste dumping or burning especially in hotspots that are vulnerable to high pollution level, water sprinkling and mechanized sweeping to be intensified and traffic police to ensure smooth flow of traffic, including during long holidays.
The task force also urged people to avoid using private vehicles particularly diesel vehicles and minimize outdoor exposure for next three to five days, especially for those with respiratory illness, the CPCB said.
The IMD said prolonged period of light winds and low temperature are likely to continue for the next three to five days, resulting in poor dispersion of pollutants and the current severe air quality may continue for next two to three days.
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