Delhi recorded “severe” air quality for a fifth day in a row on Monday. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the speedy winds over the stubble burning towards Delhi has worsened the situation. At 9 am on Monday, the air quality index (AQI) of Delhi was at 469. Any reading from 100 to 500 on the AQI scale is considered unsafe for health.

Haze covered the national capital and the visibility reduced significantly in morning.

With Diwali approaching, many of the health experts fear that the air quality could further dip if people burn firecrackers in Delhi and its adjacent areas. However, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a ban on the sale as well as the use of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR from November 9 to November 30.

Over two dozen districts across the national capital region will have to follow the order issued by the NGT. The order will also be applicable in “cities and towns where the average ambient air quality in November last year was poor or worse”, added the NGT.

The tribunal allowed the sale and use of less polluting green crackers in some regions with “moderate” air quality. However, the timing of use will be restricted to only two hours amid the COVID-19 scare.

“If nothing is specified, timing will be 8-10 pm on Diwali and Gurupurb, 6 am-8 am on Chhatt and 11.55 pm-12.30 am during Christmas and New Year’s eve,” the NGT order read.

The NGT has asked the states to “initiate special drives to contain air pollution from all sources in view of COVID-19”.