Air quality across north India and other parts of the country continues to deteriorate further due to the bursting of firecrackers during Diwali, stubble burning and local factors.
The air quality index (AQI) of Delhi was recorded in the 'very poor' category at 379 on November 9 at 11 am, data from AQI India showed.
In Kolkata's Howrah too, the AQI stood at 302 under 'very poor' quality, while in other parts the air quality hovered in the 'moderate' category.
Uttar Pradesh also saw a steep decline in air quality with AQI slipping into 'severe' zone across Noida.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51-100 is 'satisfactory', 101-200 is 'moderately polluted', 201-300 is 'poor', 301-400 is 'very poor' and 401-500 is 'severe', while the AQI above 500 falls in the 'severe plus' category.
Taking stock of the situation, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) directed the governments of Delhi, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan to ensure strict implementation of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) measures, including the sprinkling of water on roads.
Implementing agencies have been asked to submit daily reports to concerned state pollution control boards and committees.
The sub-committee reviewed air quality status as well as meteorological and air pollution forecasts.
"As per the Indian Meteorological Department's forecast, winds are expected to be north-westerly for the next five days which may possibly lead to a high contribution of stubble burning," the CPCB said. It added that the air quality may fluctuate between the higher end of 'very poor' and 'severe' category in the coming days.
It directed the states to maximise the generation of power from existing natural gas-based plants to reduce the operation of coal-based power plants in the NCR region and intensify public transport services and introduce differential rates to encourage off-peak travel.
States were also told to disseminate information about air pollution levels and to create awareness among citizens regarding steps to minimise air pollution.(With inputs from PTI)