Delhi's air quality continued to improve on Sunday with the pollution level coming down to 'poor' category after oscillating between 'very poor' and 'severe' for nearly three weeks, authorities said.
The overall Air Quality Index was recorded at 231 on Sunday which falls in 'poor' category.
On Friday, the AQI was recorded at 370, which came down to 336 on Saturday, according to data of the Central Pollution Control Board.
On Sunday, the PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) level was recorded at 106, while the PM10 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres) was recorded at 198.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor' and 401 and 500 'severe'.
Authorities have attributed the improvement in air quality to control measures and meteorological conditions but they have also warned of deterioration of air quality to 'severe' levels from Monday.
Delhi authorities have stepped up efforts to combat pollution which includes measures like halting construction activities and regulating traffic.
There is a halt on all construction activities involving excavation.
Civil construction has also been suspended in Delhi and other NCR districts, besides closure of all stone crushers and hot mix plants generating dust pollution.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee has also directed the Transport Department and the Traffic Police to intensify checking of polluting vehicles and control travel congestion in the region during November 1-10.
An aggressive 10-day-long 'Clean Air Campaign' from November 1-10 has also been launched to monitor and report polluting activities as well as to ensure quick action.
A total penalty of Rs 80 lakh was imposed on violators on Friday and Saturday by the teams deployed to monitor implementation of measures to combat pollution in Delhi-NCR under the campaign.
These teams are visiting different parts of Delhi and adjacent towns of Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad and Noida.
Based on 465 complaints, a total fine of Rs 41,82,500 was imposed on Saturday itself by 52 teams in the national capital, which has witnessed deteriorating air quality in the past two weeks, the Central Pollution Control Board said.
The highest number of complaints were related to illegal construction and demolition activities, the CPCB said.
On Friday, a total of 576 complaints were received and a fine of Rs 38,68,500 was imposed, the CPCB said.
Delhi schools preparing students for worsening air pollution
Shifting the morning assembly of students indoors, mandating them to wear masks during outdoor activities and distributing gooseberries are among the measures taken by schools in Delhi and adjoining areas to deal with the alarming level of air pollution.
With Delhi's air quality expected to deteriorate further post Diwali, several schools have started taking precautionary measures.
"We have quality filters in place because of which all our classrooms receive treated fresh air throughout the working hours and a professional team is monitoring this," said Deepa Kumar, principal, Heritage Xperiential Learning School, Gurgaon.
"We are also closely monitoring and recording PM2.5 (particulate matter) levels, with checks being conducted every few hours. This information helps guide our outdoor activities," she said.
Kumar said the school administration at times has to cancel outdoor sports activities. "If needed, we conduct appropriate activities inside the classes during the sports hour during the day," she added.
Ashok Pandey, principal, Ahlcon International School in Mayur Vihar, said, "We have shifted the venue of morning assembly indoors and advised parents to send their wards wearing masks so whenever they are outdoors they have limited exposure to toxic air".
Suraj School in Gurgaon has started an initiative to distribute gooseberries to students, which, according to health experts, minimize effects of air pollution on lungs.
"We are advising students to regularly eat the fruit and have also been distributing it in school," said Kanika Ghai, vice principal of the school.
Amita Wattal, principal of Springdales, Pusa Road in Delhi, said the school is organising campaigns to make students aware of the hazards due to fire crackers ahead of Diwali.
"We are encouraging students to celebrate 'green' Diwali and say no to crackers as they also add on to the pollution. We have shifted sports and cultural practices indoors as post Diwali the air quality usually dips," she said.