New Delhi: As pollution levels spiked to a three-year high in the Capital city, odd-even traffic rationing scheme comes into force from 8 AM today. The major pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 level were recorded at 500, that falls  in the ‘severe’ category.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered ‘good’, 51-100 ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘moderate’, 201-300 ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’ and 401-500 ‘severe’. An AQI above 500 falls in the ‘severe plus’ category. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality index (AQI) stood at 434 (severe) in ITO today.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal issued a fresh appeal, asking Delhiites to support and follow the odd-even scheme. “Namaste Delhi, to curb pollution, odd-even scheme is starting from today. Do follow the rules. Share rides, it will build relationships, save petrol and reduce pollution. Delhi will show it again”, tweeted the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader.

According to some experts, the present level of pollution is equivalent to smoking 33 cigarettes a day. The US Embassy yesterday recorded PM-2.5 level at 802 at 1 PM.

Following this the Delhi government advised people to remain indoor as much as possible. “Remain indoor or reschedule outdoor activities and consult the nearest doctor in case of breathlessness, giddiness, cough, chest pain or irritation in eyes”, an advisory issued by Health Minister Satyendra Jain said.

Besides, the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, PK Mishra, at a high-level meeting, also reviewed the grave situation in Delhi-NCR region and other parts of North India.  Senior officials from the States of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi – the three states most affected, joined the meeting through video conferencing.

Chief Secretaries of these States have been asked to monitor the situation right at the district level in their respective States, on a 24×7 basis.