New Delhi orders construction halt as pollution levels soar

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Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal ordered a ban in all civil construction activities across Delhi till June 17.

The PM2.5 level (presence of particles with diameter less than 2.5 mm) that deteriorated from "very poor" to "severe" showed improvement today at 164 in Delhi region and 162 in Delhi-NCR, the CPCB data said.

The air quality remained severe for the second consecutive day on Thursday across Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).

According to Raj Niwas, civic bodies, the Public Works Department (PWD) and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) have been directed to impose penalties on all road construction agencies for violating norms for dust control measures.

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"But when it comes to summer-time pollution, despite having air quality forecasts and predictions in place, I don't see any precautionary planning or announcements on the recommended emergency response measures", Sudhir said.

In another tweet, LG wrote, "Massive afforestation drive from 15 July-15 September across Delhi will be undertaken".

"Information about procurement of saplings, identified areas for plantation activities etc., can be obtained from Forest Deptt, GNCTD. Green Delhi our common goal".

The order to halt construction, which was issued June 14 night, came amid days of winds that have carried dirt and dust across northern India, causing pollution to spike in numerous cities and forcing dozens of flight cancellations.

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According to a government press release, the wind direction in Delhi since June 10 has changed to West and North West and then since June 12 to West and South West, due to which hot air, along with dust from Rajasthan has started moving into Delhi.

Pollution levels reached 30 times the World Health Organization's safe limits in some areas of Delhi previous year.

In Delhi and National Capital Territory (NCR), the layer of the dust continued on Thursday morning. In November past year, both PM2.5 and PM10 had spiked which was posing a serious health hazard.

Residents of India's capital Delhi are battling high pollution levels and extreme temperatures due to an unusual dust haze covering the city.

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