Millennium Post

Odd-even scheme may be back, says Kejriwal

New Delhi: As Delhi's air pollution remained in 'severe category' for the fourth consecutive day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday talked about the possibility of bringing back the vehicle rationing scheme, odd-even, if need be.

"We're taking many steps like tree-plantation drives and buying 3,000 buses etc. We sanctioned one of largest metro phases on Monday. If the need arises, we'll implement the odd-even scheme. Each has to play a role in reducing pollution," said Kejriwal.

Under the odd-even scheme, cars with licence plates ending in an odd number and even number are allowed to ply on alternate days. Implemented first time in 2016, the system got into controversies over exemptions granted to various categories of vehicles.

Delhi's air quality remained in the 'severe' category for the fourth consecutive day on Tuesday as meteorological conditions continued to be unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants, authorities said.

The city is grappling with its worst pollution crisis since Diwali.

While the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data showed the overall air quality index (AQI) at 'severe' level of 416, the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) recorded an AQI of 423. Twenty-five areas recorded severe pollution levels, while nine recorded very poor air quality, the CPCB data showed.

In the NCR, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Noida recorded severe pollution while Gurgaon recorded 'very poor' quality air.

Delhi's air quality had turned 'severe' on Saturday. The national capital recorded its second-highest pollution level of the year on Sunday with an AQI of 450.

According to the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), air quality is likely to improve on Tuesday but will remain in the upper end of the 'very poor' or in the 'severe' category.

"The wind speed and ventilation index are highly unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants," it said.

Ventilation index is the speed at which pollutants can get dispersed.

The index on Tuesday was 5,000 sqm/second on Tuesday, the IITM said.

"Because of the prevalence of severe pollution in the national capital, industrial activities in pollution hotspots of Wazirpur, Mundka, Narela, Bawana, Sahibabad and Faridabad, and construction work across the Delhi-NCR will remain shut till Wednesday," EPCA Chairperson Bhure Lal said.

The Environment Pollution Control and Prevention Authority (EPCA) has directed traffic police to deploy special teams and ensure congestion-free vehicular movement, particularly in identified high traffic corridors.

The agencies concerned have also been asked to ensure strict action against illegal industries and make all efforts to control polluting activities, particularly waste burning.

In a health advisory, the SAFAR has asked Delhiites not to rely on common dust masks for protection.

The agency has advised people to avoid all outdoor activities, such as taking walks. More reports on P3

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