As Delhi grapples with a prolonged bout of hazardous air quality, the government has taken decisive steps to mitigate the worsening pollution crisis. The State Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, has announced the revival of the odd-even rule post-Diwali, alongside an extension of school closures up to Class 11 until November 10.
Amid the thick smog that has enveloped the national capital for nearly a week, authorities have been compelled to implement a series of measures to combat the alarming levels of pollution. Currently, all schools, except for those up to Class 5, are suspended in an effort to safeguard students from the deteriorating air quality.
Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) currently stands at 488, significantly exceeding the upper limits defined by the World Health Organization. Several areas within the city, such as RK Puram (466), ITO (402), Patparganj (471), and New Moti Bagh (488), have been identified as some of the worst-affected regions.
In response to this dire situation, the Delhi government has not only reintroduced the odd-even rule but also maintained the ban on BS3 petrol and BS4 diesel vehicles. Additionally, measures such as prohibiting the use of firecrackers and installing smog guns have been put into effect.
The odd-even rule, a flagship initiative by the Arvind Kejriwal government in its fight against pollution, will be enforced for a week starting from November 13, immediately following the festival of Diwali. Under this rule, vehicles with registration numbers ending with an odd digit will be permitted on Delhi’s roads on odd-numbered days, while those ending with even digits will be allowed on even-numbered days.
Gopal Rai emphasized that a later review would determine whether the odd-even rule needs to be extended beyond November 20, depending on the prevailing pollution levels.
With the AQI hovering around 500, the air quality in Delhi and neighboring regions has been equated to smoking 25-30 cigarettes a day. These stringent measures aim to protect the health and well-being of Delhi’s residents while striving to address the escalating pollution crisis.