Visibility dropped to 200 meters in Delhi on Sunday following week-long smog.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that in view of the intense air pollution in Delhi, all schools will remain closed for three days and the odd-even road rationing scheme may return. All constructions and demolitions will be banned for five days, water will be sprinkled on roads and strict action will be taken against the burning of trash, Mr Kejriwal said on Sunday after an emergency cabinet meeting.
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As visibility dropped to a distance of 200 meters in the national capital on Sunday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held an emergency cabinet meeting at his home with all ministers and senior officials of health and the environment department.
The Chief Minister also said that the Badarpur thermal power plant will be closed for 10 days. A ban has also been placed on diesel generators for 10 days.
The Chief Minister said crop burning in neighbouring states was one of the main reasons for pollution. "By saying this I am not indulging in 'finger pointing'. All states are suffering because of this," he added.
"Blaming other states for the pollution is merely politicising. They are responsible but only 20%... 80% of the pollution is 'Delhi ka Kachra (waste)," said Union environment minister Anil Dave. Mr Kejriwal had earlier asked for Centre's intervention to help control the smog that has enveloped the city since Diwali.
Hundreds of people, including children, staged a protest at Jantar Mantar on Sunday, demanding that the government take effective initiatives to curb pollution. The protest was also joined by celebrities such as Nafisa Ali.
The smog cover led to the cancellation of the first day's play in two Ranji Trophy games in Delhi after players complained of irritation in eyes and breathing problems.
Mr Kejriwal said he had asked the Centre about the possibility of causing artificial rain. But scientists from the Ministry of Earth Sciences said cloud seeding won't work in these conditions, since there are no rain bearing clouds at present.
Considered one of the world's most polluted cities, the national capital has hit a new low. Data shows pollution this year is the worst in almost two decades. "Visibility at 8:30 am was 200 metres... This situation is going to deteriorate if not controlled," said an official of the India Meteorological Department.
The level pf PM 2.5 -- tiny particles that can clog the lungs and worsen heart ailments is close to 700 micrograms per cubic metre. This is 12 times above the government norm and 70 times over the one advocated by the World Health Organisation.
The government has blamed crop stubble burning in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, which is banned. But enforcing the ban is difficult as farmers maintain it is cheaper to burn straw on the fields than hire people to carry it away.