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Schools In Delhi To Reopen On Monday As AQI Improves

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New Delhi: Delhi schools are set to resume operations on Monday (November 20), following an improvement in air quality from the ‘severe’ to ‘very poor’ category on Saturday. The Directorate of Education has issued a notice, cautioning the postponement of outdoor activities and assemblies for an additional week.

This development comes in the wake of the Commission for Air Quality Management lifting anti-pollution measures under Stage IV of the Graded Response Action Plan.

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) revoked Stage IV of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in Delhi and adjoining areas on Saturday after the air quality improved from’severe’ to’very poor’ category.

This came after the average air quality index (AQI) of the city clocked 319, as per the daily AQI bulletin provided by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Stage IV of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) prohibited all medium and heavy goods vehicles not involved in essential services from operating in the capital, according to the latest CAQM directive.

Restrictions under Stages I to III of the GRAP shall, however, remain invoked and be implemented, monitored, and reviewed by all agencies concerned in the entire NCR to ensure that the AQI levels do not slip further into the ‘Severe or ‘Severe +’ category.

The CAQM, in a release, said that in view of the significant improvement in the average air quality of Delhi-NCR, the Sub-Committee for Operationalization of Actions Under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) of the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) met today to review the current air quality scenario in the region as well as the forecasts for meteorological conditions and air quality index made available by IMD/IITM and also take an appropriate call on the stringent actions under Stage-IV of GRAP already in place in the entire National Capital Region (NCR) since November 5, 2023.

“While comprehensively reviewing the overall air quality parameters of Delhi-NCR, the Sub-Committee observed that yesterday (i.e., November 17, 2023), Delhi’s average AQI clocked 405, which started declining and showing improvement since the late evening of November 17, 2023. Further, the air quality forecasts by IMD and IITM also do not indicate any steep degradation in the overall air quality of Delhi-NCR in the coming days,” the release added.

Moreover, as per the Central Pollution Watchdog, the present AQI level of Delhi is around 322 (very poor) recorded at 2 pm, which is about 128 AQI points below the threshold for invoking GRAP Stage-IV actions, and preventive actions under all stages up to Stage-IV are underway, so there is a likelihood of sustaining the improvement in AQI. “The forecast by IMD/ITM also does not indicate any further steep degradation,” the statutory body said.

“Various agencies responsible for implementing measures under GRAP and Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) of the NCR and DPCC have also been advised to ensure strict implementation and intensification of actions under Stage-I, Stage-II and Stage-III of the revised GRAP in the entire NCR. Further, the Commission appeals to the citizens of NCR to cooperate in implementing GRAP and follow the steps mentioned in the Citizen Charter under GRAP,” it added in the statement.

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