In view of the prevalence of "severe" pollution in the national capital, industrial activities in pollution hotspots of Wazirpur, Mundka, Narela, Bawana, Sahibabad and Faridabad, and construction work across Delhi-NCR were ordered to remain shut till Wednesday. Also, the Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded their second highest pollution levels this year on 23rd December at 450 AQI.
The unfavourable meteorological conditions are likely to keep the air quality in the "severe" category for the next couple of days, authorities said.
"It is just that dispersal (of pollutants) is not happening because of the meteorological conditions". Also, we sanctioned a large phase of Metro...
Any further improvement in air quality, however, is not expected till at least two weeks, officials said.
As the national capital battles "severe" air quality, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) reported a surge in the number of patients visiting the hospital with cardiac and respiratory diseases.
Pollution levels in New Delhi have hit their worst this year in the past two days - earning a "severe" to "emergency" rating and indicating conditions that can spark a public health crisis.
In the NCR, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Noida recorded severe pollution while Gurgaon recorded "very poor" quality air.
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"But the good news is that speed of surface wind has improved, which may help in dispersing the pollutants", he said.
Agencies have been also asked to intensify ground actions and make all efforts to control polluting activities, particularly waste burning.
The Delhi environment ministry on Sunday instructed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to track the areas that are vulnerable to high pollution and keep a watch on violations.
High levels of pollution can affect even healthy citizens and the multi-agency task force headed by the Central Pollution Control Board has advised people with respiratory illness to stay indoors.
Another official said if the air quality continues to remain in the "severe" category for 48 hours, they would consider implementing more regulations.
Delhi's air quality had turned "severe" on Saturday.
"The Delhi BJP again demands that the Kejriwal-led government give priority to pollution control and call a special session and an All Party Meeting for taking appropriate steps to better air quality", Mr. Tiwari said.
The advisory also recommended frequent wet mopping and using masks known as N-95 or P-100 respirators only for outdoor activities.