The central government’s Commission for Air Quality Management. (CAQM) has banned the operation of diesel-powered light motor vehicles (LMV) including cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles, as part of anti-pollution measures under the final stage of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). The decision was taken after Delhi-NCR’s air pollution levels rose to the ‘severe plus’ category. The ban applies to diesel commercial vehicles that are BS3 and BS4 compliant but does not extend to the ones complying with BS6 norms. Essential and emergency service vehicles or running on CNG have also been exempt from the ban.

The order read, “Ban on plying of 4-wheeler diesel LMVs in NCT of Delhi and Districts of NCR bordering Delhi, except BS-VI vehicles and vehicles used for essential/emergency services.”

The air quality panel also ordered the closure of all industries that are not running on clean fuel in Delhi and adjoining NCR districts. Moreover, the entry of trucks, except those carrying essential goods or those running on CNG and electricity, has been banned. Furthermore, construction works in public projects such as highways, flyovers, power transmission, pipelines in Delhi-NCR have been banned.

The 24-hour average AQI in Delhi was 458 on Thursday morning, which puts it in the ‘Severe’ category

The air quality commission also suggested that the central and state governments may implement work from home for their respective employees due to the rising pollution levels. Not just offices but schools in Delhi have already implemented certain measures to safeguard students. This includes suspension of outdoor activities and introduction of breathing exercises in the classroom.

Delhi’s 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) was 458 on Thursday morning. There are also reports of farmers burning stubble in their fields in Punjab, which is dimming hopes of the situation to improve in the coming days.

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