New Delhi: A day before Diwali, the national capital turned into gas chamber with air quality placed under ‘severe’ category. Notably, this has happened for a second time in a week due to a change in wind direction and stubble burning in neighbouring states.

Following the deteriorating air quality, the residents of Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) have been advised to avoid all outdoor activities, keep medicines handy in case of respiratory diseases and curb the use of private cars and two-wheelers.

Earlier on Monday, Delhi had recorded worst air quality of the season after Air Quality Index (AQI) stood at 618, which falls in the ‘Hazardous’ category. The air quality around Mandir Marg was at 707, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium at 676 and Jawaharlal Nehru stadium at 681.

Notably, the increase in pollution levels comes despite strict control measures imposed by the government in Delhi. It has launched an aggressive 10-day ‘Clean Air Campaign’ from November 1 to monitor and report polluting activities and ordered halting of construction activities and regulating vehicular traffic.

Civil construction has been suspended in Delhi and surrounding areas of the National Capital Region. All stone crushers and hot mix plants generating dust pollution have also been closed.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee has directed the transport department and the traffic police to intensify their drive against polluting vehicles until November 10.