- Title: New Delhi struggles with the worst pollution in nearly 20 years
- Date: 8th November 2016
- Summary: NEW DELHI, INDIA (NOVEMBER 8, 2016) (REUTERS) DISPLAY BOARD SHOWING DATA INCLUDING ONE THAT IS 'NOT APPLICABLE' (NA) ON AIR QUALITY
- Embargoed: 23rd November 2016 07:26
- Keywords: Pollution smog New Delhi India measures
- Location: NEW DELHI, INDIA
- City: NEW DELHI, INDIA
- Country: India
- Topics: Pollution,Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA00557L2JID
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: New Delhi continued to struggle on Tuesday (November 8) with the worst pollution to hit the Indian capital in nearly 20 years as authorities mulled measures to combat the crippling smog that has engulfed the city.
Streets were shrouded in a heavy grey haze of smog- a combination of smoke from burning farm residue in surrounding states, fireworks from the Hindu festival of Diwali, dust from construction works and vehicle emissions.
Winds sweeping through the region helped improve visibility in the national capital on Tuesday but the levels of PM 2.5, tiny particulate matter that reaches deep into the lungs, were still at "hazardous" levels.
"Today, the visibility is much better and we can breathe a little easy, otherwise we would have been walking around with masks on our faces. Even my eyes are not feeling that burning sensation," said New Delhi resident Rajat Aggarwal.
India, the world's fastest growing major economy, is home to four of the world's 10 cities with the worst air pollution, the WHO said in May. New Delhi ranked 11th.
Environmental campaigners have been urging the authorities to take stringent measures to tame pollution and improve the quality of air.
"We have polluted ourselves to an extent where the air is completely toxic. It is beyond measurable limits, crossed all limits of human imagination or the imagination of our machines that were supposed to really calculate how polluted our air is," said environmentalist Vimlendu Jha.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain said the local government was working to diminish pollution.
"All measures are being taken. For the first time, Delhi roads are being washed. Water is being sprinkled on the roads to prevent dust from rising. We are taking every possible measure (to curb pollution)," said Jain.
Jain said the Delhi government will prepare to restrict the use of private vehicles through the "odd-even" scheme that was introduced temporarily last winter to combat pollution, if the situation deteriorates.
Under the system, cars are allowed on the road only on alternate days, according to whether their number plates are odd or even.
Meanwhile, later on Tuesday, India's top court was due to hear a petition from an environmentalist to tell the government to take action regarding the toxic smog.
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