The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that stubble burning is not the major cause of worsening air quality in Delhi and northern states, as it contributes to only 10 per cent of the pollution. To bring down pollution, the central government suggested three steps to the Supreme Court which include the introduction of an odd-even vehicle scheme, a ban on trucks’ entry in Delhi, and the severest – lockdown.

The Supreme Court concluded that major culprits of air pollution are transport, industries, vehicular traffic apart from stubble burning in some areas. The Court directed the Centre to call for an emergency meeting tomorrow over issues like stopping construction, non-essential transport, power plants and implementing work from home to deal with air pollution in Delhi-NCR. It also asked the Centre and States of NCR region to consider work from home for the employees in the meantime.

In order to check air pollution, Delhi Government, meanwhile, told Supreme Court that it is ready to impose a complete lockdown in the city. Delhi government also suggested to the Apex Court that it would be meaningful if lockdown is implemented across the NCR areas in neighboring states.

Following the action after being nudged by the Supreme Court to curb the rising air pollution in the national capital, Delhi’s air quality on Monday witnessed marginal improvement as the air quality in the capital city reached the lower end of ‘very poor’ category with Air Quality Index (AQI) at 318 (overall), according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).

The pollution level in the National Capital Region (NCR), especially Noida and Gurugram, have also shown slight improvement. Noida reported AQI in the upper end of the ‘very poor’ category at 387, while the air quality in Gurugram has seen significant improvement and has now reached the lower end of the ‘very poor’ category at 317.

“Implementation of lockdown for the two days with restrictions in anthropogenic activity emitting pollutants, air quality may improve a little but likely to remain in the very poor category if stubble burning share does not increase,” SAFAR’s bulletin read.

The Supreme Court on Saturday suggested the Centre for a two days lockdown to tackle air pollution in the national capital. Owing to high levels of air pollution, schools in Delhi and Haryana have been closed. All construction activities have also been shut down.