The stubborn pollution level in Delhi hovers around 500 mark on Thursday, raising an alarming condition in the national capital. On Friday, the signature program of Delhi government to tackle the pollution crisis in the city, the odd-even scheme has also come to an end.

There is a health emergency in the city with people going outside wearing mask and the children appealing to the Prime Minister to take some serious steps to curb the pollution in the city. Many handwritten letters were surfaced on Twitter with hashtag ‘BacchonKeMankiBaat’ appealing the PM to take steps on the issue.

With the odd-even scheme comes to an end, there is still no relief for the citizens and the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is still uncertain regarding the extension of the scheme.

A Delhi government functionary said that a final decision on the extension of the scheme might be taken on Friday. It depends upon the situation of air pollution and the outcome of the hearing related to the scheme in Supreme Court.

However, Kejriwal had said that the scheme might be extended, if required.

There was a slight relief last week as the AQI showed improvement, but now the situation is in emergency state.

In Delhi, schools remained closed till Thursday due to the deteriorating situation of air pollution. Friday also gave no relief to the citizens as the weather experts predicting the situation to be similar due to influence of western disturbance.

According to SAFAR, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) in the city on Friday was recorded at 482 which falls under ‘severe’ category with PM 10 being 504 and PM 2.5 is 332.

On Friday, near Mathura Road, the AQI was recorded at 524 (PM10); near IGI airport 505 (PM 10); Chandni Chowk recorded 476 (PM10) and 475 (PM 2.5). While in neighboring cities, Ghaziabad and Noida, the AQI was recorded at 456 (PM 2.5) and 583 respectively.

Prashant Gargava, Member Secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board said stubble burning contributed significantly to air pollution in Delhi this year with the share of farm fire smoke in particulate matter peaking to 44 per cent.

“Crop residue burning has contributed a lot. This year, contribution was almost 44 to 45 per cent, bringing all the smoke to Delhi, And, we have low surface winds, nothing goes out,” PTI quoted Gargava as saying.

(With inputs from PTI)