Delhi’s air quality continued to worsen through late Tuesday night, straying deeper into the ‘severe’ zone by Wednesday morning.

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data shows that at 6.40am, the average air quality index (AQI) of Delhi reached 457. On Tuesday, the overall AQI of the city at 4pm was recorded 425.

Scientists and weather experts said that low wind speed will continue to impact the national capital’s air quality till Thursday, with a possibility of the levels dipping further to reach ‘severe+’ category by tomorrow. The change in wind direction from easterly to northwesterly in the last two days has also pushed toxic smoke from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana, where crop stubble burning incidents are on a high.

“The average wind speed on Tuesday remained around 7-8kmph. The situation will remain like this till Friday, after which winds are expected to pick up and clean the air a little,” a senior scientist at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Meanwhile, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) led Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) task force is scheduled to have a meeting on Wednesday, to assess pollution control measures in the city. The ban on polluting industries and the need to put into place additional dust control measures will be discussed in the meeting.

The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government on Tuesday said it had restricted outdoor activities in schools, but there were no immediate plans of shutting down schools. The extension of road rationing measures, popularly called the odd-even scheme, will be reviewed on Wednesday after assessing the pollution over the next 24 hours, Delhi’s environment minister Kailash Gahlot said. The scheme was suspended on Monday and Tuesday for the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

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