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As air turns toxic, Supreme Court asks govt to consider a 2-day lockdown in Delhi

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New Delhi, Nov 13: The Supreme Court on Saturday pulled up Delhi government over worsening air quality in Delhi. A bench led by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) asked the Centre and the Delhi government to take emergency measures to improve the air quality.

SC to hear plea on worsening AQI in Delhi shortly

"Everybody has the passion of blaming farmers. Have you seen how crackers are being burnt in Delhi for the last seven days? It is an emergency situation, multiple measures are needed to be taken on the ground level," the bench, also comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant, said.

The top court also took note of the fact that schools have opened in the national capital and asked the authorities to take immediate measures such as stopping vehicles or imposing a lockdown in Delhi.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said there is stubble-burning in Punjab.

The bench, however, said, "Your projection is as if only farmers are responsible. What about steps taken to contain the pollution in Delhi?

Mehta clarified that he was not even remotely suggesting that only farmers are responsible.

Authorities have advised people to limit outdoor activities and told government and private offices to cut vehicle use by at least 30 per cent as air quality in Delhi-NCR inched towards the emergency level amid a rise in emissions from farm fires and unfavourable meteorological conditions.

Vehicles accounted for 50% of Delhi’s air pollutionVehicles accounted for 50% of Delhi’s air pollution

According to GRAP, the air quality is considered to be in the 'emergency' category if the PM2.5 and PM10 levels continue to be above 300 micrograms per cubic metre and 500 micrograms per cubic metre respectively for 48 hours or more.

The measures to be followed in the 'emergency' situation include stopping the entry of trucks in Delhi, ban on construction activities and introducing the odd-even car rationing scheme.

According to an analysis by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, people in Delhi breathe the worst air between November 1 and November 15 every year.

The city has recorded severe air quality on six of the last eight days after Diwali.

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