The Central Pollution Control Board on Wednesday ordered the closure of stone crushers and hot mix plants in the Delhi-National Capital Region till November 17, as air quality in the region continues to deteriorate, PTI reported.

The order came a day after the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas assigned CPCB the task of implementing the Graded Response Action Plan to curb air pollution, till it puts a new mechanism in place.

The CPCB also said in its order that the frequency of sprinkling water along roads and mechanised cleaning must be increased, especially in areas where there is more dust generation. “It should be ensured that guidelines and standard operating procedures for dust mitigation at construction sites are strictly adhered to,” the statutory body added. It warned that action will be taken against people who violate laws.

The pollution control body directed the governments of Punjab and Haryana to take urgent steps to control stubble burning.

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On Wednesday, Delhi’s air quality index remained “severe” (476) for the seventh consecutive day. The levels of toxic pollutants were alarmingly high even in Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Gurugram. According to CPCB’s air quality index, any reading above 100 on a scale of 500 is progressively unsafe for health.

There are also concerns that the bursting of crackers on Diwali will worsen the existing situation. Gurugram imposed a complete ban on firecrackers, three days after the Haryana government permitted their sale and use for two hours on festivals such as Diwali, citing impact on small traders.

On Monday, the National Green Tribunal had imposed a blanket ban on the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR till November 30.

The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas on Monday, meanwhile, listed 10 urgent measures to curb pollution. It suggested reducing the use of personal transport and increasing water sprinkling.

The commission also said that people must work from home and avoid travelling, unless it is absolutely necessary. It emphasised on the need to adhere to rules for reducing pollution levels.