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Delhi's air quality remained very poor for the fourth day Saturday with five areas of the national capital recording severe pollution levels.

SAFAR data also showed that less stubble burning has taken place in the last two days as compared to last Thursday and Friday when highest pollution stubble burning took place since October 11.

On Saturday, eight areas in the capital recorded "severe" air quality levels including Anand Vihar, Dwarka Sector 8, Narela, Punjabi Bagh, Bawana. This is when Diwali is good 10 days away.

The task force warned that at the beginning of November, the situation may further deteriorate on account of localised emissions during the Diwali festival and regional contribution due to stubble burning.

It also asked people to go for shorter walks instead of jogs, keep windows closed and wear masks while stepping outside.

The CPCB has issued health advisories and recommended stringent measures from November 1 to 10 forecasting further deterioration in air quality ahead of Diwali.

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The court earlier this week ordered that firecrackers could be burst between 20:00 and 22:00 on the festival night on November 7 and could not be sold online.

Public should avoid strenuous outdoor activities and minimise the use of private vehicles to reduce exposure to toxic air.

D Saha, former air quality chief at the CPCB, said meteorological factors like wind speed, solar direction and temperature are mostly responsible for increasing pollution levels in the city. "Only 19 per cent pollution of PM2.5 would be caused by stubble burning on Sunday. 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.

Delhi University professor Sanjay Kumar said, "The central and the state government, besides the municipal corporations, have failed to control pollution".

Saurabh Bhasin, one of the three advocates who brought the firecrackers case to the Supreme Court on behalf of the advocates' young children, said the focus is now on finding ways to force implementation.

The average concentration of PM2.5 and PM10 in Delhi were 217 and 402 units, while in NCR they were 236 and 394 units. Several lakh tonnes of stones, cement and sand land in Delhi from neighbouring states, overnight by trucks for its mounting infrastructure needs. The level of PM2.5 - tiny particulate matter that can dangerously clog lungs - was 187, more than six times higher than what the World Health Organization considers safe.


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