The capital of India announced a series of measures to fight the air pollution that has crippled the city. Some of the steps authorities will be taking are closing down schools and halting construction work. Also, city workers are going to douse all the roads with water in order for the dust to settle.
The decision comes after heavy smog has engulfed the city making the air difficult to breathe. New Delhi pollution has hit a record high. Residents have had to make do by wearing masks and staying away from congested areas.
New Delhi Pollution Paralyzes City
New Delhi is one of the dirtiest cities in the world with the highest levels of pollution. This week the city saw dangerous levels of PM2.5 in the air. PM2.5 is a tiny particulate matter that could clog lungs. The levels of PM2.5 went up to over 900 micrograms per cubic meter. That’s over 90 times the level that the World Health Organization considers to be safe. But it’s high by the standards of the Indian government as well. It is 15 times the norm accepted by local authorities.
The chief minister of New Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, spoke to reporters after heading an emergency meeting of the cabinet. He said that schools are going to be closed for three days. Also, all construction, as well as demolition activity, is going to be put on hold for at least five days. Another measure is to shut down a coal-fueled power plant on the outskirts of the city for 10 days.
The city of New Delhi is also going to enforce a ban on electricity generators powered by diesel. The ban is going to last for ten days. However, there will be exceptions for places like hospitals or cellphone towers. Beginning with Thursday, the major roads of the city are going to be vacuum cleaned every week.
New Dehli Tries to Fight Air Pollution
The chief minister of New Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal said that a major contributor to the level of pollution in the city is a temporary, seasonal one. He blamed crop fires in neighboring states for the smog that has made life for New Delhi residents so difficult. At the beginning of every winter, farmers from the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana start to prepare the fields for a new crop of wheat. They clear the fields of the rice crop and burn the remaining straw. Arvind Kejriwal says that smoke from those fires has reached New Delhi and made the air difficult to breathe.
The Centre for Science and Environment is a research and lobby organization from New Delhi. According to data that they have obtained from the government, New Delhi pollution is at a record high. The smog that has been covering the city since last week is the worst for the past 17 years.
During the past couple of years, New Delhi has tried to fight air pollution. The local government of the city has enforced stricter emission norms for vehicles. Also, it added a tax for trucks that run on diesel. Another measure has been to ban the burning of waste within the city.
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