Air pollution loitered between ‘very poor’ and ‘serious’ levels in the national capital on Saturday and endangered to enter the ‘emergency’ category even as officials in Punjab reported a big spike in farm fires after Diwali.

According to pollution forecasting agencies, the air is likely to diminish over the next 2 days since the wind is bringing in grainy from the northwest, where farm fires have been stormy.

An official at Punjab’s pollution control board said that since Wednesday, at least 10,000 occurrences of farm fires were recorded — nearly a 4th of the roughly 40,700 occurrences seen this year.

A total of 48,000 fire occurrences were reported in Punjab last year and the number was 78,000 in 2016.

Farm fires and radiations from firecrackers devote massively to consolidations of PM2.5 particles in the air, which can lead to major health issues since they can enter the bloodstream after deep penetrate into the lungs.

Last year in November, a fortnight-long period when the air remained in the emergency category forced closing of schools and people, especially the young children and elderly were asked not to go out.

On Saturday, authorities extended a ban on construction work and entry of heavy vehicles into Delhi in order to help control local radiations. Coal Industries have also been asked to cease operations.

Sunita Narain, member of the Supreme Court-appointed pollution control authority Epca and said that many emergency measures rolled out while new measures added over past 10 days.

In a recent years, Farm fires are largely seen as the reason for the air to enter dangerous levels at the start of winters. In a bid to check this, the Union and state government in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab have released strict penalties on farmers who burn crop residue.

“On Friday, a Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) team was geared in Bathinda,” said another official.

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