Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Friday said the city government will not compromise on pollution and will take necessary action if air quality in the capital keeps deteriorating.
The authorities withdrew the emergency measures in view of a continuous improvement in the air pollution situation, he said.
“If the situation remains unfavourable, we will consult experts and the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) and take necessary action… We cannot compromise on the pollution issue,” Rai said.
Drives against open burning of garbage, dust pollution and polluting vehicles will continue in the city, he added.
“Experts have forecast an improvement from Saturday,” the minister said.
On Monday, the CAQM lifted restrictions on construction and demolition activities in the Delhi-NCR and entry of trucks into the national capital in view of an improvement in the air quality and “favourable” meteorological forecast.
However, Delhi’s air quality turned ‘severe’ the next day.
It remained in the ‘severe’ zone for the fourth day on the trot on Friday due to low wind speed and high humidity, the authorities said.
The city’s air quality index read 420 at 3 pm (Friday). The 24-hour average AQI was 423 on Thursday, 407 on Wednesday and 402 on Tuesday.
An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality forecast agency SAFAR said low ventilation and high humidity have led to such a situation. Similar conditions will further increase the AQI on Friday, it said.
Weather experts said the slowing down of winds due to a western disturbance affecting northwest India is leading to accumulation of pollutants, and high moisture content in the air makes pollutants heavier, making dispersion difficult.
Light rain is likely in the plains of north India between December 27 and December 29, which may improve the air quality a bit.