The air quality in Delhi slipped into the “severe” category once again on Tuesday morning. The 24-hour-average overall Air Quality Index for the national Capital was 418 at 1 pm, compared with a “very poor” reading of 360 on Monday evening, according to the Central Pollution Control Board. A thick haze shrouded the national Capital.

Out of the 37 monitoring stations whose readings are used by the board, Bawana, at 447, recorded the worst level at 2 pm, followed by Anand Vihar at 444. Wazirpur had an AQI of 446 and Dwarka Sector 8 recorded 443.

Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad also recorded air quality in the severe category.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, 51-100 falls under “satisfactory” zone, 101-200 is “moderate”, 201-300 “poor”, 301-400 “very poor” and 401-500 is “severe” category.

A fall in temperatures makes the air cold and heavy, leading to accumulation of pollutants near the ground. On Tuesday, Delhi recorded a minimum temperature of 11.7 degrees Celsius, two degrees below normal, according to the India Meteorological Department.

On Monday, air quality in Delhi had deteriorated, but remained in the “very poor” category with a hazy sky. The Delhi government has suspended the odd-even road rationing scheme on Monday and Tuesday, due to Guru Nanak Jayanti.

The road rationing system is being implemented from November 4 to November 15 but may be extended if pollution levels remain high. It prohibits plying of vehicles based on the last digit of their registration numbers – vehicles with odd digits are only allowed to ply on odd days, and cars with even numbers on even days.

The share of stubble burning in Delhi’s pollution was predicted to be 25% on Tuesday, up from 18 % on Monday, according to the Centre-run SAFAR. The number of stubble fires increased from 415 on November 8 to 1,882 the next day. On November 10, there were 1,846 stubble burning incidents, and these are likely to increase, SAFAR said on Tuesday.

On November 6, the Supreme Court had castigated the governments of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for failing to curb stubble burning. The court said it was a “question of life and death of crores of people”, and gave them seven days to purchase the stubble being burnt by farmers. The court has ordered a complete ban on stubble burning.

Delhi BJP chief says city will be pollution-free if party comes to power

Meanwhile, Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party chief Manoj Tiwari claimed on Monday that the city would be pollution-free in two years if his party comes to power following the 2020 Assembly elections, PTI reported. Elections for the 70-seat Assembly are expected to be held by February next year.

“The BJP is committed to make Delhi free from pollution within two years through its good intentions and policies,” he said in a Facebook live interaction with users. “After coming to power, the BJP will also finish the garbage mountains at landfill sites.”

Tiwari claimed that his party is in touch with various companies that are ready to run electric buses in Delhi, and that the city needs 12,000 such vehicles. He claimed that in 2015, there were 8,000 Delhi Transport Corporation buses, which has come down to 3,700 now. “[Chief Minister Arvind] Kejriwal had promised in his party’s election manifesto in 2015 Assembly elections, that more buses will be brought,” he said. “Contrary to it, the number of buses has decreased.”

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