As pollution levels in the national capital hovered close to emergency levels, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday stated that the Delhi government will make a decision whether or not to continue the Odd-Even scheme on November 18. CM Kejriwal addressing the press stated, "As per weather forecasts, air quality in Delhi is set to improve in the next two to three days. If the air quality does not improve, we will make a decision on extending the Odd-Even scheme on November 18."
The Odd-Even scheme, an anti-pollution measure, kicked in on November 4 in the national capital. Under the scheme, vehicles are supposed to ply alternately on odd and even dates as per their registration numbers between 8 AM and 8 PM. The scheme is not effective on Sundays and its violation attracts a fine of Rs. 4,000.
The air pollution levels in Delhi and its adjoining areas continue to remain in the 'severe' category for the third consecutive day despite the implementation of the Odd-Even scheme. The severity of the situation can be assessed by the sight of Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurugram, and Noida being engulfed by a thick blanket of smog on Friday morning. The smog also became a cause of reduced visibility on the roads that further caused problems to commuters.
The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital on Friday was recorded at 482 which falls under the 'Severe' category with PM10 being 504 and PM2.5 - 332, according to Center-run SAFAR. Further, the AQI recorded near Mathura Road in Delhi was 554 (PM10) at 9:00 am on Friday, while near the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, the AQI stood at 560 (PM10), Chandni Chowk recorded an AQI of 484 (PM10) and 488 ( PM2.5). During winter each year, most of northern India suffers from a spike in toxicity in the air due to the change in weather patterns and crop residue burning in the states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, criticised the Centre over deteriorating air quality in Delhi and asked the government to find a solution to the problem of air pollution. It asked the Centre to explore Hydrogen based fuel technology to find a solution to reduce air pollution in North India and Delhi-NCR. In reply, the Centre also told the Supreme Court that it is exploring technology, including that from Japan and is trying to tackle air pollution. Furthermore, it has been decided that the Centre will submit a report on the issue by December 3.