05:28 GMT26 January 2021
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    An air quality life index developed by the University of Chicago revealed that Delhi residents were losing out on almost 6 years of life because of the dangerous air pollution levels.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — After several reprimands from the Supreme Court of India on failing to curb pollution, the India's Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has come up with stringent measures to clean the toxic air of the nation's capital New Delhi.

    The measures include the grading system, which categorizes air pollution into four grades. The scope of measures taken to return air quality to normalcy will depend on the grades. If pollution is graded ‘severe', stringent measures would be taken, including shutting down power plants. If air quality merely ranks ‘poor,' the fee for parking vehicles would be hiked at least four-fold.

    In its two-page action plan which is going to be effective from Tuesday, the CPCB has categorized four levels of air pollution- moderate to poor, very poor, severe and emergency — based on the presence of fine particular matter PM 2.5 & PM 10.

    According to the action plan, if the air pollution level is recorded severe or emergency for more than 48 hours, local government should immediately introduce ‘odd & even scheme' for private vehicles based on license plate numbers and minimize exemptions. According to the odd & even concept, vehicles having registration numbers ending with an odd number will be allowed to ply on Delhi roads on odd dates, while vehicles with registration plates ending with an even number will be allowed on even dates.

    "Local government should make these plans feasible. If air quality would require the implementation of an odd & even scheme for private transport, the government should go ahead with it. There should not be any leniency on this front," Dr. D Saha, Scientist at the Central Pollution Control Board told Sputnik.

    In its action plan, the CPCB has also asked the New Delhi government to enhance parking fees by three to four times for vehicles in case of ‘very poor' air quality.

    "A vehicle is a potential source of air pollution. People need to be discouraged from using large numbers of private vehicles on roads so that they can use the public transport system," Saha added.

    Earlier this month, India's highest court had banned the sale of fireworks during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. The issue created a major furor among the Hindu community, as they claim the use of fireworks has been part of this festival for generations. These steps were taken to present the aftermath of Diwali celebrations last year when a thick, toxic haze settled over the city for at least 10 days due to the presence of a cloud of PM2.5, which was 16 times higher than the safe level.


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