Stubble-burning a major cause of Delhi's air pollution

India's air quality has plummeted to worst possible category

Morning haze envelops the skyline on the outskirts of New Delhi

However, the air quality of the region continues to be in the "very poor" category making it hard for people to carry out outdoor activities.

"We are looking into the matter", Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Member Secretary Prashant Gargav said.

Authorities have already advised residents to keep outdoor activity to a minimum from the beginning of next month until at least the end of the Hindu festival of Diwali on Nov.7, when firecrackers typically further taint air already hit by the burning of crop stubble in neighbouring states.

In the NCR region, Ghaziabad recorded severe pollution level, while Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida and Greater Noida all recorded "very poor" air quality, according to data by the Central Pollution Control Board data on Saturday.

Delhi's air quality that at present is in the severe zone for several places including Mundka at 322, and Pusa at 358 at 1 pm today.

The AQI between 0 to 50 is considered good, 51 and 100 falls under the category of "satisfactory", 101-200 is marked as "moderate", 201 to 300 "poor", 301 to 400 "very poor" and 500 and beyond is considered as "severe".

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Meanwhile, the pollution body recorded the PM2.5 (presence of particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) at 179.

"Pollution would reduce in the next couple of days if the weather condition remains the same. The dominant pollutant of AQ Index is PM2.5 and PM10", the IITM said.

On Saturday, five areas recorded severe pollution levels. "Apart from that, winds in Delhi now don't have a definite direction", he added.

"The team found a number of serious violations of dust control measures at the Pragati Maidan redevelopment site, following which the minister directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to take strict action against the violating agency", the environment department said in a statement Friday.

The most recent air pollution data from the World Health Organisation released in March said India was one of the world's 10 most polluted countries. It also asked people to go for shorter walks instead of jogs and wear masks while stepping outside. "The challenge is the capability and capacity of the government to do proper enforcement", said Ms Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director of the Centre for Science and Environment.

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