The air quality in Delhi-NCR continues to remain in the 'Severe' category on Thursday morning as the Supreme Court mandated anti-pollution authority, EPCA ordered the closure of schools in the region till November 15.
"Keeping in mind the hazardous exposure to children, the CPCB Task Force has recommended, which the EPCA is directing, that all schools must remain shut for the next two days," EPCA said in a letter to the chief secretaries of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan.
Manish Sisodia also took to Twitter and wrote, "In view of the deteriorating situation due to stubble pollution in North India, the Delhi government has decided to close all the government and private schools of Delhi for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow."
Overall AQI recorded at 472
Air quality index (AQI) in the national captial was 472 with particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels at 322 and PM 10 levels at 487 at 6:30 am on Thursday. The overall Delhi AQI is at the higher end of the 'Severe' category.
According to SAFAR, the levels of PM 2.5 - tiny particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter that can enter deep into the lungs and even the bloodstream - breached the emergency threshold of 300 micrograms per cubic metre in Delhi-NCR on Thursday morning and shot up to 322 micrograms per cubic metre, around six times the safe limit of 0-60, in the morning.
The spike in pollution came on a day when the Delhi government lifted restrictions under its odd-even road rationing scheme.
Though a slight improvement in day time pollution concentration is expected today, but PM 2.5 levels will start to increase immediately after sunset, SAFAR said.
It went on to share that the air quality is likely to deteriorate during stable night and tomorrow and stay in the 'Severe' category.
Air quality condition is likely to marginally improve by tomorrow (Friday), but a reasonable improvement to the 'very poor' is expected only by November 16 (Saturday).
EPCA has also advised people to avoid outdoor exposure and to work from home wherever feasible. It has asked industries not running on clean fuels to remain closed till Friday.
(With inputs from ANI)