Even as all four stages of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) are in force in Delhi-NCR, the city’s air quality continued to remain in the ‘severe’ category for the fifth consecutive day on Monday.
At 4 pm, the 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) stood at 421. A forecast issued by the Air Quality Early Warning System on Monday said the AQI is likely to remain in the ‘severe’ category from November 7 to 9, and for the subsequent six days.
In light of this, the Delhi government Monday decided to implement the odd-even scheme for cars from November 13-20 to keep vehicular emissions down. It also said all schools in the capital will hold online classes, except for Classes X and XII, till November 10. Schools may move to online classes for Classes X and XII or continue with physical classes.
Primary schools in Gurgaon and Faridabad too will be shut.
Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner, Nishant Kumar Yadav, who is also the chairman of the Disaster Management Authority, issued an order stating that all pre-school, pre-primary and primary classes in both private and government schools (i.e. nursery to class V) in physical form are ordered to be discontinued from November 7 till further orders in Gurgaon district. Schools shall adopt an online mode for conducting lessons for students up to class 5, the order stated.
The Faridabad Deputy Commissioner also issued orders to discontinue physical classes for students till class 5 from Tuesday.
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The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) identified PM 2.5 as the main pollutant in the city on Monday. The AQI on Monday was marginally better than the figure of 454 recorded on Sunday. On Saturday, it was 415, while it was 468 on Friday.
According to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) data, there were 2,060 instances of stubble burning in Punjab on Monday, against a figure of 3,230 on Sunday. The Decision Support System, developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, estimated that the contribution of stubble burning to PM 2.5 levels in Delhi to be 21.07% on Sunday.
While the wind speed in Delhi is expected to pick up from Tuesday onwards, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) also points to the possibility of very light rainfall or a drizzle towards the night on November 9. On Monday, Delhi also recorded the lowest minimum temperature of the season so far – 13.5 degrees Celsius, two degrees below the normal.