Indian authorities announced an odd-even scheme for movement of private cars in the Indian capital from Nov. 4-15, 2019. File photo/ AP
Indian authorities on Friday announced a plan to restrict the movement of private cars in the capital for nearly two weeks after a major Hindu festival that features fireworks that cloak the area with toxic smog and dust.
Private cars running on petrol and diesel will be allowed in New Delhi only on alternate days from Nov.4 to 15 depending on whether they have even or odd numbered plates, said New Delhi state chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
He told reporters that similar restrictions in 2016 reduced air pollution up to 13%.
Kejriwal also announced plans to sweeping roads mechanically, plant trees and control pollution at 12 hotspots in the city. The state government will sell government-certified N-95 masks that filter out at least 95% of dust in the air.
Kejriwal appealed to people not to light firecrackers during the Diwali festival on Oct. 27 to prevent smoke from accumulating in air.
World Health Organisation data released last year gave India the dubious distinction of having the world's 10 most polluted cities.
Air pollution generally peaks from Nov.1 with toxic smoke from the burning of agricultural fields in the neighboring northern states of Haryana and Punjab blow in because of a change in wind direction.
Last year, the New Delhi government ordered firefighters to sprinkle water from high-rise buildings to settle dust, stopped garbage fires and ordered builders to cover construction sites to stop dust enveloping the area as hazardous air quality affected millions of people.
Air quality index of Delhi is generally moderate between January and September. It deteriorates to very poor and severe between October and December, according to the government-run Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.
Schools in India’s capital New Delhi reopened on Wednesday after closing for two days due to a spike in air pollution that triggered a public health emergency and prompted protests by residents and environmental groups.
The world cannot anymore take the issue of air pollution lightly. Indian capital, Delhi, which is facing an air pollution emergency, has sent a strong message to the rest of the world
Cooler temperatures and lighter wind trapped heavy smog over the Indian capital on Wednesday, pushing pollution to “severe” levels in many places with no immediate relief in sight, government agencies said.
The air pollution reaches a crescendo in Delhi-NCR every winter, when pollution from stubble burning combines with the suspended water droplets in the lower atmosphere to form a thick blanket of noxious smog, thus creating health hazards for the residents.
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