The grim condition of Delhi's air quality has forced a pollution control task force to seek temporary ban on construction and industrial operations in the hotspots across the national capital till Wednesday.
Delhi's air quality remained in the 'severe' level for the third consecutive day on Monday as wind speed and other meteorological factors remained "highly unfavourable" for dispersion of pollutants.
People have been advised by the authorities to minimise outdoor activities and avoid use of private vehicles as the city battles its worst pollution levels since Diwali.
The task force led by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has recommended to the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) to shut down industries located in the hotspot industrial areas of Wazirpur, Mundka, Narela, Bawana, Sahibabad and Faridabad until Wednesday.
It also recommended a ban on construction activities in Delhi, Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad and Noida during the same period.
The CPCB added that the traffic police should deploy special teams to ensure smooth vehicular movement, especially in identified high traffic corridors.
"Police department concerned to strictly ensure that non-destined heavy duty vehicles travel through eastern and western peripheral expressways. Agencies concerned to ensure strict action against illegal industries," the CPCB-led task force said.
On Saturday, the task force had recommended that authorities intensify ground actions to enforce measures already in place, particularly to control emissions from vehicles and burning of biomass.
The other recommendations made are: agencies concerned to increase surveillance to find industrial waste dumping or burning especially in hotspots that are vulnerable to high pollution level, water sprinkling and mechanised sweeping to be intensified and traffic police to ensure smooth flow of traffic, including during long holidays.
The task force also urged people to avoid using private vehicles particularly diesel vehicles and minimise outdoor exposure for next three to five days, especially for those with respiratory illness, the CPCB said.
On Monday, 32 areas of the national capital recorded 'severe' air quality, while five areas recorded air of 'very poor' quality, according to the CPCB.
In NCR, Noida recorded the worst air quality with an AQI of 464. Faridabad and Ghaziabad also recorded 'severe' quality air, it said.
The overall PM2.5 level (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometre) was recorded at 369 and the PM10 level at 533 here, the CPCB said.
Delhi's air quality turned 'severe' on Saturday. On Sunday, the city recorded its second highest pollution level of the year at an AQI of 450.
According to the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), the 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. A ventilation index lower than 6,000 sqm/second with an average wind speed less than 10 kmph is unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants.
The index was 4,500 sqm/second on Monday, the IITM said.