In a move to check the alarming levels of air pollution in the National Capital Region, the Union Environment Ministry has directed states around Delhi to enforce a ban on stubble burning (the burning of the straw left behind after the harvest of wheat and other crops). The ministry has also asked municipal bodies in Delhi to prevent the open burning of solid waste.

In a press release, the ministry said it had reviewed the “ambient air quality status of Delhi”. The ministry said the rising levels of pollution were attributable to the burning of stubble and solid waste as well as vehicular pollution and the dust around roadsides and construction sites. “The problem has been accentuated because of relatively low wind speeds and lower temperatures, resulting in reduced dispersion of pollutants in Delhi,” the statement by the ministry went on to say.

The measures to check the pollution will be conveyed to the NCR-neighbouring states by the Central Pollution Control Board under relevant provisions, according to the ministry. The Environment department has also summoned the secretaries of the states on November 4 to review the situation.