The air quality of the national capital remained at ‘severe’ level for the fifth consecutive day on Monday, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) said there was an immediate need to strictly enforce standard operating procedures (SOPs) such as minimising the use of personal transport and restricting unnecessary travel to minimise pollution. Also Read - Punjab CM Had Several Chances to Stop Farm Bill But He Didn't Do So: Delhi CM Kejriwal

“We need to strictly enforce existing laws, guidelines, SOPs to minimize air pollution on an emergency basis and minimise the use of personal transport and restrict travel unless absolutely necessary,” the commission said, according to news agency PTI. Also Read - NGT Extends Ban on Sale, Use of Firecrackers Amid Deteriorating Air Quality

There was also a need to encourage coal-using industries in the National Capital Region (NCR) to minimise the use of coal in the upcoming months, it added. Also Read - Man Undergoes Lung Transplant in Delhi, First Such Surgery on Post-COVID Patient in North India

The National Green Tribunal has imposed a total ban on the sale or use of firecrackers in the NCR from November 9 midnight to November 30 midnight. “Celebration by crackers is for happiness and not to celebrate deaths and diseases,” NGT said in its order that came days before Diwali, the festival of light.

Meanwhile, VK Soni, the head of the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD’s) environment research centre, ruled out the chance of a major improvement in Delhi and the National Capital Region’s (NCR’s) air quality in the coming days. “The air quality is likely to be recorded in the upper end of the ‘very poor’ category on Diwali if we discount firecrackers emissions. If people burst crackers, pollution levels can increase to ‘severe’ to ‘severe plus’ category (emergency),” Soni said.

(With agency inputs)