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27 December 2018, 11:56 | Ross Houston
A residential building shrouded in smog in New Delhi on Tuesday
Altaf Hussain Reuters
The pollution prompted chief ministerArvind Kejriwal on Tuesday to announce that the Delhi government will, if needed, bring back the controversial odd-even rule that allows only half of Delhi's private cars to run on alternate days. The remarks came a day after the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) ordered shutting down of industries and construction activities in Delhi-NCR till December 26 due to high pollution levels.
According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the overall air quality index (AQI) in Delhi was recorded at 385 till 8 am, which fall in the "very poor" category.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality index value in Delhi-NCR on Tuesday was at 408 with major air pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 at 266 and 405, respectively, on an average. In the Wazirpur area, the air quality also dipped to the severe category with 400. "Approval of new sections of the Delhi Metro has also been delayed for four years and was done only under pressure from the Centre and the BJP Opposition", Mr. Gupta claimed.
In a letter to Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev, Lal also directed him to ban all construction activities in the national capital, Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad and Noida till Wednesday.
The air quality levels have worsened in the national capital region for the fourth consecutive day and the alarming situation could prompt the return of the odd-even vehicle scheme.
The city is facing its highest pollution level since Diwali. "We are making all efforts on our part", he said.
The apparent lack of concern about the toxic air among ordinary folk gives federal and local politicians the cover they need for failing to address the problem, say pollution activists and social scientists.
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