The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region on Friday enforced restrictions under Stage III of the Graded Response Action Plan, or GRAP, which is meant to curb air pollution in Delhi and adjoining areas.

GRAP is a set of incremental anti-pollution measures that are triggered to prevent further worsening of air quality once it reaches a certain threshold in the Delhi-NCR region.

New Delhi’s air quality index on Friday touched a dangerous 447, indicating “severe” levels of pollution, according to the Central Pollution Control Board data. An index value between 0 and 50 indicates “good” air quality, between 51 and 100 indicates “satisfactory” air quality and between 101 and 200 indicates “moderate” air quality.

As the index value increases further, air quality deteriorates. A value of 201 and 300 means “poor” air quality while between 301 and 400 indicates “very poor” air. Between 401 and 450 indicates “severe” air pollution while anything above the 450 threshold is termed “severe plus”.

As per the restrictions implemented under Stage III of the GRAP on Friday, citizens living in and around New Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida and Gautam Buddh Nagar will not be allowed to drive Bharat Stage III petrol and Bharat Stage IV diesel four-wheeler vehicles until further notice. Bharat Stage emission standards regulate the output of air pollutants from vehicle engines. The higher the Bharat Stage category, the less polluting the vehicle.

Construction and demolition activities have also been banned for the most part. However, such activities related to public projects, including metro lines, railways, healthcare facilities, water and power supply, sanitation, highways, roads and flyovers have been exempted from the ban.

The air quality in Delhi has deteriorated to the ‘severe’ category with AQI plunging to 400 following a dip in temperature and the reduction in wind speed,” said Delhi’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai at a press conference on Friday, according to the Hindustan Times. “Due to this, the Commission for Air Quality Management has implemented restrictions under GRAP III once again.”

In its Friday order, the commission said that the air quality in Delhi may worsen further due to “highly unfavourable meteorological and climatic conditions” forecast by agencies such as the India Meteorological Department and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.