The Prime Minister’s Office intervened to review the deteriorating air quality situation in the National Capital Region (NCR) on Sunday.

According to data shared by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the Air Quality Index (AQI) across parts of Delhi worsened to severe or beyond. The index reported pollution levels as high as over 999 (the upper limit measurable) for the PM 2.5 and PM 10 pollutants.

Officials in the know said that the Principal Secretary to PM reviewed the situation arising out of severe air pollution in NCR and other parts of North India on Sunday. Senior officials from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi joined the meeting through video conferencing. The Cabinet Secretary will monitor the situation with these States on a daily basis and Chief Secretaries of these States have been asked to monitor the situation in the various districts of their respective States, the official added.

To address the worsened air quality issue, about 300 teams are in the field in Delhi to reduce air pollution, necessary machinery for this work has been distributed in the States and the main focus is on the seven Industrial Clusters and major traffic corridors in the NCR, the official said.

A Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority had declared a public health emergency in Delhi-NCR on Friday and banned all construction activity till November 5.

On Sunday, the Delhi State government also issued a health advisory to residents. The suggestions proposed restricting outdoor movement and exercise. The public has also been asked to avoid places where there is too much traffic. The State government once again urged people not to burst fire crackers.

The Delhi government said that schools in the Capital will remain closed on Monday and Tuesday in light of the air quality conditions. Schools in neighbouring Gurugram and Haryana will also remain closed. Pollution in Delhi is also being attributed to stubble burning in neighbouring States. Commenting on the actions taking to contain it the Punjab government said that action has been initiated against around 3,000 and over 20,000 cases of stubble burning have been reported till last week.

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