New Delhi: In the wake of deteriorating air quality, trucks won’t be given permission to enter the national capital. However, trucks bearing the essential goods might be allowed in the city. The ban will be implemented for 24 hours starting Friday morning.

This is part of measures by Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority after the Supreme Court on Thursday issued directions to take urgent steps under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) from Friday onwards keeping in the mind the worsening air quality. (Also Read: All Departures at Delhi Airport Put on Hold Due to Fog Conditions, Low Visibility)

Notably, Delhi’s air quality was in the “very poor” category on Tuesday, before it deteriorated to “severe” on Wednesday as it was on Monday. On Thursday, it remained in the “severe” zone with the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) at 444 (severe), with PM2.5 and PM10 as major pollutants. The “severe-plus” condition that has prevailed in the national capital for more than 30 hours saw PM2.5 levels exceeding 300 microgrammes per cubic meter.

EPCA Chairman Bhure Lal in his letter to Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev suggested that entry of trucks be stopped if the situation does not improve by Friday morning.

“The enforcement of this direction requires coordination of all NCR states and you are therefore requested to take steps to ensure that this happens. Also, the opening of the Eastern and Western Expressways will make this easier to implement as the tracks that are not destined for Delhi now have convenient alternatives to take,” the EPCA head said.

The pollution control authority, as per the recommendations made by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Task Force, has also directed to issue a public notice asking people to minimise the use of personal vehicles and avoid prolonged exposure because of unhealthy air.

The task force has also recommended that measures which are already in force “must continue with intensified action by implementing agencies, particularly with regard to traffic congestion, open burning of waste and industrial emissions”.