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Indian capital on high alert as toxic smog envelops city

Air pollution in New Delhi hit record levels in the first week of November, 2019
Air pollution in New Delhi hit record levels in the first week of November, 2019 FRANCE 24 screengrab

Authorities in New Delhi are restricting private vehicles from the roads on alternating days to control vehicular pollution as people in the capital continue to gasp beneath toxic smog.

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The measure restricts private vehicles with odd-number license plates to driving on odd dates while even-numbered plates are allowed on even-numbered dates.

Authorities say almost 1.2 million registered vehicles in Delhi will be off-road every day during the two-week restrictions.

Reporting from New Delhi, FRANCE 24’s Mandakini Gahlot said the pollution was so high that authorities had run out of digits on its pollution displays, noting also that the sudden deterioration in air quality was due to traditional farming practices.

“Officials have said that 44 percent of the air pollution in New Delhi is due to crop burning, a practice that’s been used for centuries, where they burn the stubbles of their previous harvest to prepare the ground for the next year’s harvest.”

New Delhi is one of the world’s most polluted cities, and hazardous air is chronic from October until February.

Authorities have already declared a public health emergency in New Delhi and ordered the closure of schools.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

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