Schools were closed indefinitely and some coal-fired power plants were shut down while the capital of India, covered in smog, and the nearby states yesterday applied severe measures to combat the worsening of air pollution, following an order from the federal Ministry of the Environment.
The measures are taken at a time when India’s top court is deciding whether New Delhi it must initiate a lockdown due to the blanket of gray polluting air that continues to envelop the city, especially in the mornings. The committee on Tuesday night presented guidelines to curb pollution and show residents that the government is taking steps to control the environmental crisis that has been looming over the city for years.
Paradoxically, last weekend, in the framework of COP26, the Indian government defended its right to use fossil fuels.
In addition to the closure of schools, the Commission for Air Quality Management ordered the stoppage of construction works until November 21 and prevented the circulation of trucks that do not transport essential products. In addition, he asked the states to “encourage” telecommuting.
Despite a slight improvement in air quality in New Delhi over the past two days, the hazardous particle reading was still seven times above the safe level, exceeding 300 micrograms per cubic meter in some areas of the city.
The World Health Organization determines that the safety level of the tiny poisonous particles is at 25.
The forecast is that air quality will worsen before the arrival of cold winds next week that could eliminate smog.
The Supreme Court ordered the state and federal governments to take “immediate and urgent” action to address the situation. One of the government officials admitted that breathing the air of New Delhi is “like smoking 20 cigarettes a day.”