The Delhi government on Monday filed an appeal with the National Green Tribunal, asking it to amend its November 11 order on the odd-even scheme, as pollution levels remained high in the region.

On Saturday, the green tribunal allowed the government to go ahead with its odd-even vehicle rationing scheme, and asked it not to exempt anyone, including women and those using two-wheelers. The state government, however, said it will not implement the scheme from Monday as planned, and will approach the green court again, asking it to allow the exemptions. The tribunal is likely to hear the matter on Tuesday.

The air quality deteriorated on Monday after marginally improving over the weekend. The Air Quality Index reading in several areas in Delhi was above 500. Central Delhi’s Lodhi Road (Air Quality Index of 567) and north-west Delhi’s Pitampura (Air Quality Index of 544) had the worst readings at 2.30 pm.

An Air Quality Index reading of up to 50 is considered “good”, and up to 100 is considered “satisfactory”. A reading between 401-500 is ranked “severe” on the index, which means the air is dangerously filled with pollutants. Monday’s reading in Delhi far surpasses the categories on the Air Quality Index chart.

The pollution might worsen from November 15, after light rain is expected in the city. While the rain may help marginally dissipate smog, it will lead to a buildup of moisture in the air, which could further trap pollutants, the Hindustan Times reported.

A week of bad air

Since November 7, there has been severe smog in Delhi and several other north Indian cities. The National Human Rights Commission sent notices to the Centre and the governments of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, calling the poor air quality a violation of people’s Right to Life, and asking what measures will be taken to improve the air. Schools that were shut last week in Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad reopened on Monday.

The Supreme Court has agreed to an urgent hearing of a plea seeking action to tackle Delhi’s pollution.