To put things in perspective, Air Quality Index above 400 is considered "severe": areas like Punjabi Bagh (999) and RK Puram (852) recorded more than double of that.
The government, industries as well as the public have to do their bit to control the situation. Here's what you should do.
How Delhi can tackle its pollution problem
What leads to the worsened situation during this period?
Though Delhi has a perennial pollution problem, this time of the year is especially difficult.
Ongoing stubble burning in neighboring Haryana and Punjab often lead to worsened air quality in Delhi.
This year, the SC banned firecrackers, but several loopholes meant citizens celebrated Diwali as noisily as always.
Earlier, the IMD had also predicted slower surface winds and therefore slower dispersal of pollutants.
What can the government do?
The government should cut down the number of private vehicles and encourage public transport use by ensuring more buses and metros and cheaper fares.
To discourage use of private vehicles, parking fee should be increased by four times.
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What can industries do?
Industries are a prime source of pollution and will need to be regulated. Brick kilns and hot-mix plants need to be closed down soon.
Stone crushers should also be shut immediately.
Hotels and eateries need to stop using coal and firewood immediately. The SC ban on pet coke and furnace oil should be enforced strictly.
The ban on generator sets should also continue.
And finally, what can Delhiites themselves do?
You can also try to keep yourself safe. Avoid auto-rickshaws: they cause more exposure to pollutants.
Or better, stay at home as much as possible, especially at night when pollution levels are generally higher.
Hire clean air consultants. Get your house tested for pollution. Install air purifiers. Also plant some greenery indoors.
Or just simply leave town for a while for temporary relief.
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