The air quality in the Delhi-NCR region dipped into the 'Severe' category, just days ahead of Diwali, signalling an 'air emergency' in the region. On Friday morning, 3 November, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) in several parts of Delhi was at 438 (Lodhi Road), 491 (Jahangirpuri), 486 (RK Puram area), and 473 (IGI Airport (T3)) – all under the severe category.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that all government and primary schools in Delhi will remain closed on 3 and 4 November, in light of the rising pollution levels.
A ban on non-essential construction activities has been imposed in Delhi, which went into effect from Thursday evening, 2 November.
Plying of BS-3 petrol and BS-4 diesel cars has been banned in Delhi as well as in Haryana's Gurugram, Faridabad, and Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar.
The Delhi government has launched the "Red Light On Gaadi Off" campaign and will reportedly hire 1,000 private CNG buses to bolster public transportation.
The Delhi Metro will run 20 extra trains as more people are encouraged to use public transport.
Section 144 has been invoked in Gurugram due to worsening air quality index.
Noida and Greater Noida too come under Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) III restrictions starting from 3 November.
As winter sets in, scientists warn the air quality in Delhi-NCR is only set to worsen in the next fortnight.
Doctors warn that children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing respiratory issues like asthma are likely to be hit harder by the poor air quality.
It is advised that residents use N95 masks when they step out, restrict outdoor activity, use air purifiers if possible, and reduce indoor pollution.