søndag 14. november 2021

New Delhi braces for emergency measures as toxic smog worsens

India's federal pollution control board on Friday ordered states and local bodies to be in "complete readiness" to tackle New Delhi's worsening smog conditions due to a drop in temperature and wind speeds. A thick haze of toxic smog hung over the Indian capital, exacerbated by a spike in the burning of crop waste in surrounding farmlands.

It reduced visibility and the Air Quality Index (AQI) hit 470 on a scale of 500, according to the federal pollution control board. This level of pollution means the air will affect healthy people and seriously impact those with existing diseases. According to the pollution board's "Graded Response Action Plan," air quality remaining "severe" for 48 hours must prompt states and local bodies to impose emergency measures that include shutting down schools, imposing 'odd-even' restrictions on private cars based on their number plates, and stopping all construction.

In a circular late on Friday, the board said the government and private offices should reduce the use of private transport by 30% and advised the city's residents to limit outdoor exposure. "Meteorological conditions will be highly unfavorable for dispersion of pollutants till November 18, 2021 in view of low winds with calm conditions during the night," the board said.