NEW DELHI :9/11/17; The Indian capital declared a pollution emergency on Thursday as toxic smog hung over the city for a third day and air quality worsened by the hour.
Illegal crop burning in the farm states surrounding New Delhi, vehicle exhaust emissions in a city with limited public transport and swirling construction dust have caused the crisis, which arises every year.
The problem has been compounded this year by still conditions, the weather office said. A U.S. embassy measure of tiny particulate matter PM 2.5 showed a reading of 608 at 10 a.m. when the safe limit is 50.
An hour before it was 591.
PM 2.5 is particulate matter about 30 times finer than a human hair. The particles can be inhaled deep into the lungs, causing heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer and respiratory diseases.
Residents complained of headaches, coughs and smarting eyes.
The city will curb car use next week, the state government said, the latest attempt to clean the air.
New Delhi will follow an “odd-even” scheme for five days starting Monday in which cars will be allowed on the roads based on whether their number plates are odd or even.
“It is an emergency situation,” said Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot.
In other measures, commercial trucks have been banned from the city unless they are carrying essential commodities, all construction has been stopped and car parking charges raised four times to force residents to use public transport. Schools have been shut for the week.
But experts said these measures were unlikely to bring immediate relief.