New Delhi announces special measures to fight air pollution

AP News
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Posted: Dec 04, 2015 7:29 AM
New Delhi announces special measures to fight air pollution

NEW DELHI (AP) — India's capital announced new measures Friday to fight extreme air pollution that has earned it the title of world's most polluted city.

From Jan. 1, for several weeks, private cars will only be allowed on New Delhi's roads on alternate days, depending on whether their license plates end in even or odd numbers, said Kewal Kumar Sharma, the city's chief secretary. The city's pollution peaks during the cold winter months.

The city also plans to shut down one of its oldest and least efficient thermal power plants. The Badarpur plant, commissioned in the early 1970s, uses outdated equipment and often breaks down.

Traffic police will also be told to ensure that diesel-guzzling trucks, which transit through the city at night, enter only after 11 p.m. Currently trucks are allowed to enter the city at 9 p.m., often resulting in massive traffic jams.

It was not immediately clear when the measures would take effect or exactly how long they would continue.

Sharma said the government also plans to buy special vacuum cleaning equipment to clean the roads and reduce the dust that shrouds the city. That measure will be in place by April, he said.

The announcement came a day after the Delhi High Court upbraided the city's government for the "alarming" air pollution levels in the capital city.

Earlier this year the city ordered all private cars older than 10 years to be taken off the roads, becoming the second major city in the world to do so after Beijing.

Last year, the World Health Organization named the Indian capital as the world's most polluted, with 12 other Indian cities ranking among the worst 20.