As pollution climbs to 'severe' category, authority mulls restriction on vehicle use

People walk on 'Kartavya Path' amidst the morning smog. Photo: Reuters/Anushree Fadnavis

New Delhi: India's Delhi city will restrict the use of vehicles for a week between Nov. 13 and 20 to curb air pollution, the local government's environment minister said on Monday, as air quality remained in the 'severe' category despite mitigation efforts.
The rule would allow vehicles with odd number plates to ply on odd dates and similarly vehicles with even registration numbers will be allowed on road on alternate days.

New Delhi often ranks among the world's top polluted cities every year ahead of the onset of winters in November, when calm winds, low temperatures trap pollutants emitted from many sources.
Air quality was 'severe' for a third consecutive day in the city on Monday, according to the federal pollution control body, forcing the city government to extend the closure of primary schools until Nov. 10.

"There is a possibility that air pollution will rise after the Diwali," Gopal Rai, Delhi's environment minister, said, referring to the Hindu festival on Nov. 12 during which firecrackers, which are banned, are often set on fire, worsening air pollution.

A cricket World Cup match involving Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, however, went ahead in the city on Monday with organisers installing air purifiers in the players' dressing rooms and using water sprinklers to reduce pollutants in the air.

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