After New Delhi woke up to a thick blanket of smog with air pollution at ‘severe level’ on Tuesday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government is considering ‘closing’ schools for a few days.

Kejriwal shared a message on social media, saying that he has requested Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and state Education Minister Manish Sisodia to shut schools in the capital.

Earlier, Kejriwal took to Twitter saying, that Delhi has become a “gas chamber” and we have to find a “solution” to crop burning in adjoining states.

Air quality

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded ‘severe’ air quality, meaning that the intensity of pollution was extreme.

CPCB, monitoring stations in Delhi-NCR recorded Air Quality Index (AQIs) as high as 446 at 9.30am. The lowest AQI was in Gurgaon at 357 at 9.30am, which is classified as very poor, according to media reports.

The last time air had turned ‘severe’ was on October 20, a day after Diwali festivities, when firecrackers were set off.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said visibility in New Delhi was at 200m around 5.30 am on Tuesday. In Noida, AQI was 430 at 9.30am, according to media reports.

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Masks for CISF personnel

Meanwhile, the CISF ordered issuance of over 9,000 face masks for it00s personnel deployed to guard the IGI Airport, the Delhi Metro and other government ministries and installations.

A senior officer of the paramilitary force said CISF Director General (DG) O P Singh said, “While 2,000 protective face masks are being issued immediately, 7,000 more will be sent to all the units in Delhi in the next few hours.”

NGT slams state governments

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar have lambasted the state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi for not being prepared in advance to tackle the ‘emergency situation’.

“The ambient air quality is so bad that children are not able to breath properly. Why didn’t you not spray water using helicopters as per our direction? You take instructions and inform us day after tomorrow,” the bench said.

It asked the state governments to explain why they had not taken preventive and precautionary measures as it was reported earlier that such a situation was likely to arise.

(With agency inputs)