The air quality in the national Capital remained in the “severe” category on Thursday. The 24-hour-average reading of the overall Air Quality Index for Delhi was 463 at 4 pm, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.

Visuals from around the India Gate and the Rashtrapati Bhavan showed the area enveloped in a thick haze of smog, ANI reported.

Out of the monitoring stations whose readings are used by the CPCB, the air quality recorded at Dwarka Sector 8 was the worst at 499, followed by 494 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The air quality level at Anand Vihar was 487.

In Noida, pollution levels recorded at four monitoring stations were severe between 473 and 496. The cities of Faridabad, Gurugram, 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.

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Schools in the Delhi-National Capital Region were shut on Thursday and will also be closed on Friday. The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority on Wednesday had advised the Delhi government and other authorities to announce the closure.

Several students wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and appealed to him to take steps to ensure they could breathe clean air, PTI reported. “I used to enjoy soccer earlier but now I can only enjoy it on TV,” Ishan Mahant, a student, wrote in his letter. “I cannot play outside because the air is too toxic to breathe in.”

Another unidentified student reportedly urged Modi for a “strong directive” from the Centre and the states that were affected by pollution. The students wrote to Modi on the occasion of Children’s Day on Thursday.

This came a day after the Supreme Court asked the Delhi government and the CPCB to provide two sets of pollution data between October and November 14, and October 1 and December 31, 2018.

The top court asked the Centre to examine the feasibility of using hydrogen-based fuel technology to tackle air pollution. The government informed the court that it was looking into technologies, including one from Japan. A report on the matter will be submitted by December 3.

The Supreme Court also noted that “little constructive efforts” were made by the government and other authorities to resolve the pollution problem.