New Delhi has
decided to lift the ban on construction activities in the national capital
after a marginal improvement in air quality after air quality dropped to record
levels last week. Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi dropped to 303 on a scale of
500, down from 499 last week. However, a thick layer of haze still hangs over
the city.

The air quality in
Delhi is “very poor” still and the government has still decided to keep schools
closed. Gopal Rai, Delhi’s environment minister, said, “Air quality is slowly
improving,” adding that the ban has been lifted to help construction workers
who were struggling.

Rai added that
authorities will monitor construction activity across Delhi to ensure that builders
follow dust-control measures set out by the government.

Also Read | Why is Delhi facing repeated air pollution problems?

Last week, the
Delhi government shut down schools and offices and asked people to work from
home. The city’s air quality will be reviewed again on November 24. “We are
closely monitoring,” Rai said calling upon residents to use public transport.

Air pollution in
Delhi has become an annual problem. Every winter sees air quality dropping in
India’s capital. This year, the problem has been even more acute. Delhi’s air has
landed children in hospitals with breathing trouble, doctors said last week.
The government shut five power stations and added school closures to contain
the crisis.

While vehicular
emissions contribute to nearly 50% of the pollution in Delhi. For long, burning
of crop stubble was considered one of the chief sources of pollution in Delhi.

However, this
year, the Indian government said before the Supreme Court that crop stubble
burning only contributes nearly 4% of the air pollution.

On Sunday, the Delhi
government extended the ban on entry of trucks carrying non-essential items
into the city. This ban will be reviewed on November 26.