Smog: Private cars may be halted in Delhi
Move may be necessary as toxic smog envelopes vast swathes in the north
India may halt the use of private vehicles in the capital New Delhi if air pollution, which has reached severe levels in recent days, gets worse, a senior environmental official said yesterday.
Toxic smog has started to envelope vast swathes of northern India, including New Delhi, as it does each year when farmers burn off the residue of crops.
“Let us hope the air pollution situation in Delhi doesn’t deteriorate but if it turns out to be an emergency, we will have to stop the use of private transport,” said Bhure Lal, chairman of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).
EPCA, appointed by India’s Supreme Court, has already proposed halting construction, the use of diesel-run power generators, brick kilns and the burning of garbage between November 1 and November 10 when pollution levels are expected to rise.
Data from the Central Pollution Control Board showed the air quality index hit 469 in parts of Delhi on Tuesday, up from 299.4 a week ago.
Crop stubble burning, a major source of pollution, vehicular exhaust and a drop-off in wind speeds have aggravated the smog that is likely to worsen around November 7, when fireworks will set off to celebrate the major Hindu festival of Diwali.
Yoga enthusiasts in Lodhi Gardens amid heavy smog in New Delhi yesterday. Authorities have proposed halting construction to curb the smog.