Air pollution causes Delhi schools to shut

What are you (Delhi) getting from this odd-even?

The government environment monitoring agency SAFAR warned that no relief was expected for the next one to two days, as humidity resulting from unexpected light rains overnight had exacerbated pollution, already driven by higher the seasonal crop stubble burning by farmers in the surrounding states.

He said emissions restrictions should be imposed on motorbikes and scooters, which are heavily used in Delhi but exempted from the odd-even scheme, and called for more public transport investment.

It had carried out a study in collaboration with Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. However, on November 6, the pollution level is likely to rise again due to dense fog.

The Supreme Court on Monday slammed authorities for their failure to curb pollution in Delhi-NCR.

The smoke from fields combines with urban pollution from vehicles and industry to make Delhi the world's most-polluted capital. The system will run till November 15.

With the pollution causing a rush of respiratory complaints at hospitals and the diversion of 37 flights on Sunday, a new law came into effect restricting cars from the capital's roads to alternative days, depending on if their number plate ends in an odd or even number. But the Delhi government believes that by keeping half of the three million four-wheelers off the roads each day, the scheme would be able to meet with some success.

As the scheme got underway, Kejriwal took to Twitter.

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To popularise the scheme, Kejriwal himself travelled to work by an even-numbered vehicle.

The apex court made it clear that it would penalize top officials starting from the chief Secretary to the local administration officer, if found guilty in not taking steps to stop air pollution. "It can not be done in a civilised country", a two-judge Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said. "What is needed is better public transport", it added.

Every year, at this time, farmers in Punjab and Haryana states, ruled by the Congress party and the BJP respectively, start burning off the rice paddy straw and stubble in preparation for the sowing season.

The vehicle restrictions have been the city government's pet project to fight air pollution.

As Delhiites woke up on Monday, levels of particulates measuring less than 2.5 microns - so tiny they enter deep into the respiratory tract - were at 613 micrograms per cubic metre of air, according to the United States embassy in Delhi. Every year there is hue and cry.

"Stubble burning alone is not responsible for pollution".

Meanwhile, Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala stated that his government has urged the Centre to convene a joint meeting of all the concerned states on the issue. "I'll also write in that capacity to the Prime Minister over the issue", he tweeted.

According to SAFAR, satellite pictures had captured more than 3,000 incidents of stubble burning last week in neighbouring states, contributing to 44 per cent of Delhi's pollution.

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