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Air quality continues to remain 'severe'; HC slams Delhi govt

Air quality continues to remain severe; HC slams Delhi govt

New Delhi: Air quality in the national Capital remained in the "severe" category on Thursday as the Delhi-NCR region continued to be shrouded by a thick layer of toxic smog.

Schools in the Delhi-NCR region remained closed as per the direction of the authorities. The air quality has been deteriorating since the past couple of days, while this is the second time that schools had been forced to remain shut due to air pollution. The Supreme Court's Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) also asked industries not running on clean fuel to remain closed until Friday.

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court on Thursday came down heavily on the Delhi government and other concerned authorities over the deteriorating AQI and increasing air pollution in the national Capital, saying "there is complete lack of will to implement" ideas to tackle the problem.

A division bench of Justices G S Sistani and Anup Jairam Bambani remarked that if its previous orders had been followed, pollution in Delhi would not be where it is today. The court said the matter would now be heard every two weeks in order to ensure that steps are taken to curb the menace of pollution in the city.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) deteriorated further to 463 at 2:30 pm in the city, three points more to what was recorded at 9:30 am. The AQI monitoring centres at Dwarka Sector 8 recorded an AQI of 496, very close to the "severe plus" category. The AQI monitoring centres at JLN Stadium and Nehru Nagar also recorded air quality levels over 490. The only silver lining was the Aya Nagar air quality monitoring centre which recorded an AQI of 382.

Several students, who remained confined indoors, chose not to celebrate Children's Day on Thursday. Many students wrote letters to the Prime Minister urging him to take measures to ensure clean air for them.

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