Thursday, November 18, 2021

New Delhi government looks at smog lockdown

Schools close as smog-laden India capital considers lockdown | CTV News - Sheikh Saaliq & Shonal Ganguly, AP:

November 17, 2021 - ""Authorities closed schools indefinitely and shut down some coal-burning power plants Wednesday to reduce air pollution in India's smog-shrouded capital and neighbouring states, as the country weighs an unprecedented and more far-reaching step: a lockdown in New Delhi.... 

"The New Delhi state government said it is open to the idea of a weekend lockdown to reduce automobile traffic and potentially other air-polluting activity in the city, and it is awaiting the go-ahead from India's Supreme Court. A decision could come as early as Nov. 24. It's not clear how extensive the lockdown would be. Authorities are discussing whether to allow industries to continue operating. 

"Some experts said a lockdown would achieve very little in controlling pollution and would instead cause disruptions in the economy and harm the livelihoods of millions of people. 'This is not the solution that we are looking for, because this is hugely disruptive. And we also have to keep in mind that the economy is already under pressure, poor people are at risk,' said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director at the Center for Science and Environment, a research and advocacy organization in New Delhi....

"Besides closing schools and shutting down some power plants, the Commission for Air Quality Management ordered a stop to construction until Nov. 21 and banned trucks carrying non-essential goods. The panel also directed the affected states to encourage work from home for half of the employees in all private offices.

"Levels of dangerous particles in New Delhi's air Wednesday were as high as seven times the safe level, climbing above 300 micrograms per cubic meter in some parts of the city. The World Health Organization designates the safe level as 25. Forecasters warned air quality will worsen before the arrival of cold winds next week that will blow away the smog.

"Earlier this month, air pollution reached the 'severe' level in the capital, and residents faced bouts of heavy, multiday pollution. That prompted the Supreme Court last week to order state and federal governments to take 'imminent and emergency' action. New Delhi authorities responded by proposing a lockdown and closing schools for a week....

"Experts say such emergency measures are not helpful in the long run. 'These are done only to ensure that you don't worsen the situation, that you shave off the peak. But it is not a silver bullet that is going to just clean the air immediately,' Roychowdhury said."

Read more:

No comments:

Post a Comment