Taking note of the severely deteriorated air quality of Delhi-National Capital Region, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority Friday declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR region and banned construction activity till November 5.
"The air quality of Delhi and NCR has deteriorated as of last night and is now at 'Severe Plus' level. We have to take this as a public health emergency as air pollution is now hazardous and will have adverse health impacts on all, but particularly our children", EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal said in a letter to the chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.
The Authority also banned the bursting of crackers during the winter season.
Hot mix plants and stone crushers are also to be closed till the morning of November 5 in all NCR districts.
The Chairperson added that inspite of all efforts, there were still many instances of local pollution and therefore enforcement needed to be stepped up further.
The air quality in Delhi-NCR deteriorated further Thursday night and is now at the severe plus level, EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal said in a letter to the chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.
"We have to take this as a public health emergency as air pollution will have adverse health impact on all, particularly our children," he said in the letter.
Delhi Minister Kejriwal described the city as a "gas chamber" while distributing masks to schoolchildren. He also blamed the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab, where thousands of farmers at this time of year burn crop stubble, sending vast clouds of smoke drifting across northern India.