Centre deploys 300 teams, focus on 7 Industrial clusters as Delhi-NCR chokes on pollution

India Gate in Delhi (File photo) Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Nov 03, 2019, 10.53 PM (IST) Edited By: Sparshita Saxena

The Central government on Sunday deployed 300 teams in the national capital to tackle the menace of air pollution in the national capital and the adjoining areas. 

Pollution levels in Delhi-NCR have escalated to 'severe plus' and emergency-like level with the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority sounding a public health emergency in the region. 

The teams have been deployed with a special focus on seven Industrial clusters and major traffic corridors across Delhi-NCR, news agency ANI reported. 

Earlier in the day, the principal secretary to Prime Minister, PK Mishra, held a meeting on the rise in air pollution in Delhi-NCR.

The Centre informed that similar arrangements have also been made by Punjab and Haryana and necessary machinery has been provided in the states. Neighbouring states have also been asked to reduce fire incidents and dust levels due to adverse meteorological conditions in the last three days.

Mishra-led high-level review meeting with senior officials from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi was conducted through video-conferencing. The meeting reviewed the situation arising out of stubble burning, construction activities, burning of wastes and industrial and vehicular pollution.

State chief secretaries have been directed to monitor the situation in their respective states. The cabinet secretary will monitor the situation on daily basis.

Air pollution in New Delhi and surrounding towns reached the worst levels so far this year on Sunday, with authorities in the world's most polluted capital city having already declared a public health emergency and ordered the closure of schools.

The air quality index, measuring levels of PM 2.5, tiny particulate matter in the air, deteriorated to above 900, way over the 500-level that qualifies as "severe-plus," news agency Reuters reported. 

The government environment monitoring agency SAFAR warned that no relief was expected for the next one to two days, as humidity resulting from unexpected light rains overnight had exacerbated pollution, already driven by higher the seasonal crop stubble burning by farmers in the surrounding states.

According to SAFAR, satellite pictures had captured more than 3,000 incidents of stubble burning last week in neighbouring states, contributing to 44 per cent of Delhi's pollution.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has said that the state government has initiated action against as many as 2,923 farmers so far in the 20,729 cases of stubble burning reported till November 1 in the state. 

In the view of worsening air quality, schools in Delhi, Noida, Gurugram and Noida have been shut till Tuesday

(With inputs from agencies)