QR.bizNewsBreeze clears some pollution from Indian capital but air still hazardous

Breeze clears some pollution from Indian capital but air still hazardous

The air quality of Delhi, India, is growing so unsafe for human health that officials in the capital territory on Monday began to restrict vehicle use in a bid to prevent the situation from worsening. Several districts in the two states reported an air quality index of "severe" and "very poor" categories. The safe limit prescribed by the World Health Organisation is 60.

With smog levels exceeding those of Beijing by more than three times, millions of people have been forced to suffer in what Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called a "gas chamber" of poisonous smog. "It is the biggest health problem", said Puja, 40, a local resident.

Ms Merkel said that Germany would spend one billion euros on "green" urban transport projects in India over the next five years, including 200 million euros to replace diesel buses in Tamil Nadu state.

Studies have shown that toxic air such as that hovering over Delhi reduces the life span of people by seven years.

Information released by the World Health Organization a year ago showed that India had the world's 10 most polluted cities.

Vehicles and industrial activities are the main contributors to air pollution along with unbridled construction.

The pollution in the Indian capital also peaks after Diwali celebrations, the Hindu festival of light, when people traditionally set off fireworks.

Top officials of Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana on Monday outlined before the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) steps taken by their states in the past 24 hours to check air pollution, including imposing fines on those burning stubble and sprinkling of water in identified "hotspots". "Delhi can not be evacuated", said the court.

As many as 37 flights were diverted on Sunday due to poor visibility caused by high concentration of smog in and around the Delhi airport. The hustle and bustle of urban living don't help the residents of major metro areas like New Delhi.

"That's because normal air quality is between 0-50".

Pollution in Delhi has recently led to the declaration of a public health emergency as the air is contaminated at 400 times the amount considered healthy. All Delhi schools have been shut till November 5.

A new law came into effect on Sunday restricting cars from the capital's roads to alternative days, depending on if their number plate ends in an odd or even number.

But analysts say that it's not enough.

"There should be zero tolerance towards any violations contributing to direct triggers of air pollution", she told Al Jazeera.

A survey of 17,000 people in the Delhi region by his consultancy found that 40 per cent want to get out of the Delhi region because of the failure to control pollution.

He reiterated the urgent need to check local sources of pollution from garbage burning to construction dust and dumping of waste. "Delhi is choking every year and we are unable to do anything", a bench of the Supreme Court said.

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