Due to worsening air quality in the national capital, the Delhi government on Monday imposed a temporary ban on plying of BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheelers from Tuesday, PTI reported. Delhi’s air quality dipped to “severe” category on Monday.

“The ban on BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel vehicles will kick in from Tuesday since the air quality has deteriorated in the severe category. We are monitoring the situation along with the Environment department. For now, the ban is likely to be in place till Friday,” a senior Transport department official told PTI.

The official also said the ban could be lifted before Friday if the air quality improved.

The national capital’s 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) stood at 434 on Monday, worsening from 371 on Sunday. This prompted the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) to direct all NCR states, including Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, to implement anti-pollution curbs with greater vigour.

The commission also asserted the need to deploy enough inspection teams to ensure the implementation of the anti-pollution plan.

An AQI between 201 and 300 is considered ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said low temperatures, calm winds and high moisture content led to trapping of pollutants.

The deterioration in air quality has coincided with cold wave conditions in the national capital. Very dense fog reduced visibility to just 25 metres, hitting road, rail and air traffic movement.

For five consecutive days, Delhi has now recorded a minimum temperature lower than that of most hill stations in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The IMD has issued an orange alert in Delhi on Monday as the temperature in the national capital hovered around nine degrees Celsius.

A senior IMD meteorologist said short-term relief is likely after a couple of days under the influence of back-to-back western disturbances, PTI reported.

(With inputs from agencies)

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