Key facts as Delhi chokes in toxic smog

Wednesday, 06 Nov, 2019

The third edition of odd-even scheme was also rolled out on Monday, under which cars with odd and even numbers can ply on Delhi's roads on alternate days.

Authorities said nearly 1.2m registered vehicles in Delhi would be off-road every day during the two-week restrictions.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) the odd-even scheme, coupled with high wind speed, brought down pollution levels in Delhi by 82 percent in eight hours on Monday, reported India Today.

Air pollution peaks at this time of year as farmers set fires to clear land and traditional Diwali celebrations end with people setting off fireworks.

New Delhi has been ranked the most polluted city in the world, but the air quality this week has been exceptionally bad - rising to levels more than 20 times what the World Health Organization (WHO) considers "safe".

Authorities have already declared a public health emergency in New Delhi and ordered the closure of schools.

Experts warn that both state and national governments needed to go beyond short-term remedies and tackle major pollution causes if air quality is to improve in the long-term.

It said that the problem of deterioration in air quality is not a creation of just one day, but a result of continuous negligence and apathy in enforcing the law.

Delhi's skyline is seen enveloped in smog and dust in on Friday.

The government's air quality monitoring and forecasting service said though Monday's farm fire count was the highest for the season and the wind direction was northwesterly, Delhi's air quality "continued to recover".

New Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal says that "lives are at stake" in the mega-city's pollution crisis.

Traffic police officers, wearing protective masks, signalled cars to stop for not following the temporary rule.

Delhi's government has take some steps to curb the pollution, including instituting the odd-even vehicle rule this month for the first time since 2016.

In a ruling following petitions filed by activists, the court's judges ordered an immediate halt to the practice of farmers burning crop stubble in the states surrounding the capital.

The sludge-coloured toxic smog has prompted the government to close schools, divert flights and limit the number of vehicles allowed on the city's roads. The aim is to reduce the number of vehicles which are being driven there. It also banned all construction and demolition activities along with burning of garbage and waste in Delhi-NCR in the region.

The Supreme Court said the capital's residents were "losing precious years" of their lives, adding "people are dying, this just can not happen in a civilised country".