16:27 GMT +317 November 2018
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    Sun setting at Connaught Place in Delhi

    Delhi Considers Restricting Plying of Private Vehicles to Fight Pollution

    CC BY 2.0 / Ville Miettinen / Sun setting at Connaught Place in Delhi
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    With pollution levels hitting a new high, residents of Indian capital Delhi and adjoining areas have been complaining of breathlessness and burning sensation in the eyes. The city administration is contemplating banning private vehicles from plying on the roads to control the situation.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Amid fears of plunging air quality level in India's National Capital Region (NCR), the city administrators are contemplating an "only public transport" policy from the beginning of next month to fight pollution. 

    READ MORE: New Delhi Roads Get Improvised Gadgets for Smog Control

    Indication of this move were given by the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) when it's chair Bhure Lal told the media that "recent forecast has shown air quality is set to worsen in the next few days and if it crosses severe levels, we will have to take the emergency steps. If need be, we will have to restrict the use of private vehicles on Delhi roads from 1 November. Only public transport will be used. This is part of the Graded Action Response Plan."

    "It would be binding on the state government to procure transport from adjoining states. Metro will have to enhance service intensity and a number of coaches. So, emphasis will be on public transport," Bhure Lal was quoted by the ANI.

    Delhi has undertaken several such steps in the past to fight pollution. The most publicized being the Delhi government's January 2016 introduction of an ‘odd-even' rule for rationing of cars on Delhi roads. The practice was however discontinued in November 2017.

    Weathermen have advised caution for residents of Delhi as the city's Air Quality Index (AQI) continue to score below ‘severe' category after breaching the 400 mark. According to the Air Quality Early Warning System, Delhi's air quality is likely to remain severe for the next three days.

    READ MORE: India Should Follow China's Footsteps in Combating Air Pollution — WHO Report

    "The prevailing meteorological conditions are less favorable for dispersal of pollutants for next two days due to low wind speed across the northern region," Dr. Gufran Beig, Project Director at System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) told the media.

    Burning of farmlands in neighboring states of Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan, use of older and more polluting vehicles and unfavorable weather conditions with low-speed winds which have failed to disperse pollutants, have all contributed to this alarming situation.

    AQI between 0-50 is considered "good", 51-100 "satisfactory", 101-200 "moderate", 201-300 "poor", 301-400 "very poor" and 401-500 "severe".

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    Tags:
    health hazards, emergency plan, public transport, air pollution, Supreme Court of India, India, New Delhi
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