Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday advised Delhi citizens to stay indoors as much as possible and work from home, ANI reported. He also announced that schools will remain closed for three days, starting November 7. The Aam Aadmi Party government has decided to halt construction and demolition work in the Capital for the next five days to deal with the rising air pollution levels in the city.
Kejriwal called for an emergency Cabinet meeting on Sunday afternoon to take stock of the situation, PTI reported. "Cabinet discussed about artificial rain and now needs Centre's support; Crop-burning will continue and so can't expect relief soon," he said. He said the government will start using jet pressure pump technique to sprinkle water on roads to control dust particles from Monday, and vacuum cleaning of roads from November 10. "Transportation of fly ash will be stopped for 10 days," Kejriwal said after the meeting.
The chief minister said the odd-even scheme would be brought back soon, though he did not mention a timeline for it. System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research data showed that PM 2.5 (particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter) was at 355 and PM 10 was at 482 on Sunday. The analysis further said the pollution levels in Delhi were "severe", and that it will remain "very poor" for the next three days.
Delhi residents, including children, held protests at Janatar Mantar on Sunday morning against the administration's failure to tackle the rising air pollution in the region. Environment ministers of states around the Capital will meet on Monday to discuss measures. Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has also called a high-level meeting on Monday.
Union Environment Minister Anil Dave on Saturday said immediate steps need to be taken to deal with Delhi’s rising air pollution. “There is an emergency situation in Delhi. The situation is bad, particularly for children, patients, women and elderly,” he said after meeting Kejriwal. , The Indian Express reported.
Dave said the deteriorating situation in the Nation Capital Region should not be politicised. He said all stakeholders need to come together for a united response to find a solution. “There is no one particular reason behind alarming air pollution in Delhi. We need to collectively address all issues and improve air quality," he said. Dave said the Centre might issue health advisory after consulting with the Health Ministry.
Kejriwal met Dave on Saturday and urged the Centre to impose restrictions on crop burning in the region. He said burning of stubble in the states around Delhi has turned the city into a “gas chamber”. “The Centre can sit with the chief ministers of these states and chalk out a solution. A few reports have put the volume of stubble being burned at around 16-20 million tonnes,” he said.
Dave said emergency measures to contain dust pollution and crop burning in the region were discussed during his meeting with Kejriwal. “There are five reasons triggering air pollution that include use of firewood, coal, diesel, petrol and burning of agricultural waste. We have to find solution to address the problem. We should imbibe self-discipline in our routine lifestyle,” he said.