Air pollution: Delhi govt extends work from home for govt employees, ban on entry of trucks till November 26

The IMD has also predicted winds with speeds up to 30 km/hour today. (File/ANI)

The Delhi government has extended work from home for its employees and the ban on entry of trucks carrying non-essential items till November 26 to combat air pollution.

It was still unclear if the order, issued by the environment department, the curbs on construction activity would continue. However, a senior official told PTI that the ban had been lifted.

Schools and colleges will also remain shut according to the directions of the Commission for Air Quality Management, the official added.

An official of the central government said the Commission for Air Quality Management would review the situation in Delhi on Tuesday.

The Delhi Environment Department, in its order, said there was a need to further extend the curb on vehicular movement amid forecasts of very poor air quality. The department added that vehicular pollution would cause air pollution and release harmful pollutants, especially when the air quality was very poor.

It added that the entry of trucks into Delhi would be barred till November 26, after which a review would be held on further extending the curbs. Only trucks carrying essential items will be allowed to enter the National Capital.

The department also added that offices of the Delhi government, corporations, and autonomous bodies, except those involved in emergency and essential services, would remain shut till November 26. However, officials would continue to work from home during this period.

On Wednesday, the Delhi government, acting on orders from the Commission for Air Quality Management, issued 10 directions, including banning the entry of trucks carrying non-essential items and shutting schools and colleges.

It had also prohibited construction activity and ordered employees to work from home till Sunday.

The commission on Tuesday held an emergency meeting with officials of Delhi and the NCR states ahead of a Supreme Court hearing on the region’s air pollution.

Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology’s Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi warned that the city’s air quality would remain ‘poor to moderate’ today and Tuesday.

For the next five days, the air quality is likely to remain in the ‘poor’ to the lower end of the ‘very poor’ category, it said.

On Sunday, winds with speeds up to 20 km/hour blew through the city, dispersing pollutants and partially improving visibility.

The city’s 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 349, partially lower from Saturday’s 374. Air quality in Faridabad (377), Gurugram (364), Ghaziabad (319), and Noida (322) also remained ‘very poor’.

An AQI between zero and 50 is categorised as ‘good’, 51 and 100 as ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 as ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 as ‘poor’, 301 and 400 as ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 as ‘severe’.

Senior India Meteorological Department (IMD) Scientist RK Jenamani said winds with speeds up to 20 km/hour during the day would improve visibility from 800 metres in the morning to 2,200-3,000 metres at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and the Safdarjung Airport today.

The IMD has also predicted winds with speeds up to 30 km/hour today.

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