New Delhi: Expressing concern over deteriorating air quality in the national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said his government will distribute at least 50 lakh free anti-pollution masks to students from November 1.

”The Delhi government will distribute at least 50 lakh masks free of charge to students of both government-run and private school in Delhi from November 1. The government will distribute 50 lakh free N95 anti-pollution masks to nearly 16 lakh students and each student will be given two masks,” Kejriwal said while addressing a pressing conference.

Saying that his government will take all possible measure to contain the pollution in the national capital, Kejriwal urged the governments in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to ask their farmers to stop stubble burning which leads to air pollution in Delhi.

The Delhi CM also appreciated the people of Delhi for not burning fire crackers in the capital on Diwali. “I am really happy that people in Delhi burnt fewer crackers this Diwali. This time, the air pollution has been lowest in the past five years,” Kejriwal said.

The Delhi CM said his government has planned to initiate the odd-even scheme from November 4 to 15 as one of the measure to bring the pollution under control.

On Tuesday, the Delhi government released NASA images showing crop burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. The latest NASA images showed a drastic increase in the stubble burning in the last 24 hours.

Despite repeated calls to stop the practice, the stubble burning counts have increased from 1,654 to 2,577 in Punjab and Haryana in the last 24 hours. The wind direction suggests that stubble plume could increase from both the neighbouring states.

Earlier in the day, a thick blanket of smog enveloped Delhi-NCR and the Air Quality Index remained in the ‘very poor’ category of 392, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research.

Reports suggested that there is no respite from the situation before Friday. Owing to Cyclone Kyarr, the skies will remain cloudy, though it won’t rain, and the winds won’t gather pace to blow away the smog. The north-westerly wind direction which is bringing pollution from stubble burning from the neighbouring districts to Delhi will not change immediately.