New Delhi: The Delhi Government on Monday (November 15, 2021) told the Supreme Court that it is ready to impose a complete lockdown in the national capital to control air pollution. It also stated that such a step would be meaningful if it is implemented across the NCR areas in neighbouring states.
In an affidavit, the Arvind Kejriwal-led government said, "GNCTD is ready to take steps like complete lockdown to control local emissions. However, such a step would be meaningful if it is implemented across the NCR areas in neighbouring states. Given Delhi's compact size, a lockdown would have limited impact on the air quality regime."
The Delhi government, listing the steps taken so far, said no physical classes would be held in schools this week and the government officials would work from home, and private offices have also been advised to allow work-from-home for their employees.
"All construction and demolition activities will be closed with immediate effect till November 17," said the affidavit.
Earlier on November 13, the Supreme Court had called the situation "very serious" and had said that the government should consider a two-day lockdown to protect citizens and inform the court on Monday about emergency steps to improve air quality.
"We have been forced to wear masks at home also, the situation is very serious," Chief Justice of India NV Ramana had said while hearing a plea filed by a student over the worsening air quality.
Subsequently, the Delhi government had announced the closure of physical classes in schools, colleges and other educational institutions, except those where exams are being conducted, for a week from Monday. This is noteworthy that the air quality in Delhi, often ranked the world's most polluted capital, has declined due to crop stubble burning, emissions from transport, coal-fired plants outside the city and other industry, as well as open garbage burning and dust.
Meanwhile, Delhi's air quality remained in the 'very poor' category for the second consecutive day on Monday, with the AQI being recorded at 342. The air quality index of Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, Gurgaon and Noida stood at 328, 340, 326 and 328 respectively at 9.05 am.
The national capital recorded a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 330 on Sunday as against 473 the previous day as emissions from farm fires in Haryana and Punjab dropped significantly. This is noteworthy that an AQI between zero and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.