Friday 20 July 2018

New Delhi orders construction halt as pollution levels soar

The Central Pollution Control Board rated the city’s air quality as severe — the worst category — for the fourth day in a row.

The outskirts of New Delhi (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
The outskirts of New Delhi (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

By Associated Press Reporters

New Delhi officials have ordered a two-day halt to construction in an attempt to reduce choking pollution that has cloaked the Indian capital in smog and dust.

The Central Pollution Control Board rated the city’s air quality on Friday as “severe” — the worst category — for the fourth day in a row.

New Delhi’s level of PM2.5, tiny particulate matter that can dangerously clog lungs, exceeded 170 on Friday morning, more than six times higher than the World Health Organisation considers safe.

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A clean air zone at the Gurdwara Rakabganj in New Delhi (Manish Swarup/AP)

The order to halt construction, issued on Thursday night, came after days of winds that have carried dirt and dust across northern India, causing pollution to spike in numerous cities and forcing dozens of flight cancellations.

The New Delhi government has made sporadic attempts in recent years to control worsening air pollution, including stricter emission levels for cars and a tax on diesel-fuelled trucks entering the city.

But experts say there is little that can be accomplished without concerted national efforts, and pollution has only become worse.

Press Association

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