New Delhi: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has asked Delhiites to be indoors and avoid strenuous exercises, minimize their exposure to the toxic air, and cut down the use of private cars in the days near Diwali.

Sources said the central pollution monitoring body is expecting air quality to further deteriorate between November 1 and November 10. The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority is now expected to take a call based on CPCB’s recommendations and pass an order on Saturday.

The air quality in the area is expected to reach its worst because of toxic fumes from stubble burning in parts of Punjab and Haryana that are expected to gush into Delhi.

Last fortnight, Delhi has been already reeling under ‘very poor’ air quality. If pollution continues to increase at such staggering rates, the capital’s air quality may soon enter the “severe” zone, which is the worst level of 401-500 on the AQI scale. The pollution control board is expecting that it would drop further over the past three days. 

System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR), which comes under the union ministry of earth sciences, has predicted the same thing. 

“Between November 1 and 10 meteorological conditions may not be favourable for Delhi as a result of which air quality could deteriorate. Based on our past two years of experiences, the CPCB’s task force met on Friday and has recommended some preventive and proactive measures to EPCA,” said P Gargava, member secretary of the CPCB, told Hindustan Times.

In November 2016, Delhi saw the worst levels of pollution around Diwali and the worst smog in 17 years. In 2017, it was again engulfed in a thick haze as the air quality remained ‘severe’ for almost a week. 

A slew of recommendations has been made to the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).
> A ban on construction activities in the Delhi-NCR region for 10 days
>  Closure of coal and biomass-based industries (excluding thermal power plants and waste to energy plants)
> cut down the use of private vehicles, particularly diesel vehicles
> Restricted use of firecrackers on Diwali

(With agency inputs)