Meanwhile, Delhi's air quality remained in the "severe" category for the fourth consecutive day on Tuesday. The remarks came a day after the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) ordered shutting down of industries and construction activities in Delhi-NCR till December 26 due to high pollution levels.
Delhi has for the past few years been battling severe air pollution, especially in the winter. The air quality remained "severe" on Monday and Tuesday, before moving to the "very poor" category Wednesday morning.
According to SAFAR, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of the national capital was 423 - in the hazardous zone - as the minimum temperature was recorded at 5.6 degrees Celsius, two notches below the season's average.
Agencies have been also asked to intensify ground actions and make all efforts to control polluting activities, particularly waste burning.
Dr Guleria added that mainly children, elderly citizens and patients with cardiac problems suffer the most when air quality is poor. "The air quality is severe and prominent pollutants are PM 2.5 and PM 10". Of the 67 cities where the air quality was monitored, 17, including Patna, recorded "very poor" air quality.
Any respite from poor air quality is unlikely due to the high level of humidity in the air, coupled with slow wind and extremely cold condition in the northern part of the country.
Any further improvement in air quality, however, is not expected till at least two weeks, officials said. Traffic police was suggested to ensure smooth flow of traffic.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee said the ban comes into force from Monday itself and it is sending letters to industries and construction authorities to immediately halt the activities.
"Pollution has become a very unsafe issue.Toxic air is causing health hazards for both adults and children.In view of the falling standard of air quality, the CPCB has issued an advisory.it is very shameful that despite being the capital of the country, Delhi is the most polluted State", Mr. Tiwari said.
On Monday, Delhi's air quality was recorded at 448 which falls in the "severe" category, the CPCB said.
"We are working on reducing pollution in the national capital and an electric vehicle policy is being developed for the city".
The low wind speed and a drop in mercury prevented the dispersal of particulate matters.
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