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India bans sports events in New Delhi due to air pollution

India bans sports events in New Delhi due to air pollution

NEW DELHI, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) — Local government in India’s Delhi has banned all zonal sports tournaments and events as the Air Quality Index (AQI) reached the severe plus category level.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), an institute monitoring air pollution, the overall AQI of Delhi was recorded at 504 on Friday, which fell into the “severe plus” category, the highest alert level of air quality. The prominent pollutants are PM 2.5 and PM 10. In its advisory, SAFAR has urged everyone to avoid all physical activity outdoors, wear anti-pollution masks, avoid burning wood, candles or incense, and clean rooms to reduce dust.

On Thursday, the government invoked Stage III of the pollution control plan, deploying anti-smog guns and relaunching the “Red light on, Gaadi (vehicle) off” campaign to contain air pollution. GRAP-III calls for a halt on non-essential construction work, stone crushing and mining in Delhi-National Capital Region. Delhi figures in the most polluted cities of the world. Industrial activities and vehicular traffic are significant contributors to air pollution in the city, along with rampant construction. For the past many years, the air quality in Delhi has become hazardous ahead of winter. Officials in Delhi blame the stubble burning in neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana for the increasing pollution.

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