Delhi Public Works Department (PWD) minister Satyendar Jain said on Tuesday that 70 per cent of the current pollution in Delhi is due to the burning of crop waste in neighbouring states.Jain's remarks come a day after Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said that around 80 per cent of the problems leading to rising pollution levels in Delhi is due to local factors, and only 20 per cent is due to neighbouring states. Jain said that while that may be the case during rest of the year, but current spike in pollution is not due to local factors."I admit there is high level of pollution in Delhi. It always remains comparatively higher compared to other places. But from November 1 onwards, pollution in Delhi has increased due to crop burning," he said. Responding to Dave's remarks that only 20 per cent of pollution is contributed by nearby states, Jain responded: "While it may be the case if you take annual average, but today, 70 per cent of the pollution is due to crop burning (in neighbouring states)."
Jain said that the government is taking all necessary steps to battle unprecedented smog levels that have turned the national capital into a virtual gas chamber."We are taking collective measures in coordination with all concerned authorities. We are washing roads to curb dust from rising into the air. Action is being taken on polluting vehicles," he said.Delhi government also ordered closing of schools till Wednesday and banned construction and demolition activity till November 14.Jain added that the government is also working on long term measures to fight pollution which will be announced soon.Thick smog had shrouded Delhi post-Diwali and levels of particulate matter - PM 2.5 and PM 10 - breached the maximum level of 500 across the national capital.The air quality continued to be "severe" on Tuesday with System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) showing levels of PM (particulate matter) 2.5 and PM 10 breaching the 500-mark at all locations.According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Air Quality Index (AQI) for Delhi remained severe with the index value 442 at 9 a.m. Particulate Matter less than 10 micrometres in diameter (PM10) is so small that it can get into lungs and can cause serious health problems. Particulate Matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) is produced by burning fuels.