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Air pollution in Delhi-NCR remains in severe-plus category; AQI in Hisar reaches 804

A thick layer of haze continues to hang over the Indian capital on Saturday caused by plumes of toxic smoke from farm fires raging in neighbouring states. An index measuring the level of a deadly air pollutant in Delhi hit 480 on a scale of 500, the government`s Central Pollution Control Board, the worst this year. 

Air pollution in Delhi-NCR remains in severe-plus category; AQI in Hisar reaches 804
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New Delhi: A thick layer of haze continues to hang over the Indian capital on Saturday caused by plumes of toxic smoke from farm fires raging in neighbouring states. An index measuring the level of a deadly air pollutant in Delhi hit 480 on a scale of 500, the government`s Central Pollution Control Board, the worst this year. 

In Hisar, the index measures the level of PM 2.5 at 804, 585 in Gurugram, Ghaziabad 496, Greater Noida 496, Faridabad 479 and Noida 578. In Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, the air quality index (AQI) was at 339. In terms of NCR, Noida turned out to be the most polluted city in India.

The index measures the level of PM 2.5, tiny particulate matter that goes deep into the lungs. Anything above 400 poses a risk for people with respiratory illnesses and can also affect even those with healthy lungs.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi have announced shutting down of schools during the same period. All schools in the national capital have been ordered to remain shut till November 5. The AAP government also staggered working hours of 21 of its departments during the implementation of the 12-day odd-even scheme, beginning November 4. 

On Friday, CM Kejriwal offered free masks on Friday and accused the governments of Haryana and Punjab of forcing their farmers to burn stubble, which he said is the reason behind pollution in the national capital.

Taking to Twitter on Friday morning, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, "Khattar and Captain governments are forcing their farmers to burn stubble, due to which there is severe pollution in Delhi."

Meanwhile, several companies in Delhi-NCR have advised their employees to avoid exposure to toxic air and work from home.

Every year, farmers in the states of Punjab and Haryana burn crop residue to prepare for the sowing season, ignoring government warnings. According to government-run monitor SAFAR, satellite pictures had captured nearly 3,200 incidents of stubble burning on Thursday in Haryana and Punjab that contributed to 44% of Delhi`s pollution. As per SAFAR, despite the alarming situation in the national capital, farm fires continuing to rage in Haryana and Punjab.

(With agency inputs)