With air pollution reaching “severe” levels, a commission from India’s environment ministry on Sunday ordered a halt to non-essential construction work in the capital, New Delhi, and its adjoining areas.
Thick smog has engulfed New Delhi for the past two days, a year-round problem in the world’s most polluted city, which gets worse in winter.
Air pollution in India rose to “severe” levels today, with the air quality index rising to 407 on a scale of 500, at 4 pm local time (10:30 GMT).
Besides the ban on unnecessary construction work, a special committee from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change called, in a statement, for “citizens to work from home and reduce the use of private vehicles.”
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Among the measures recommended by the committee is that citizens choose a cleaner commute to work by using public transport, walking or cycling.
And the statement added, “We recommend that people, whose work nature allows, work from home.”
The committee also warned against “using coal or firewood for heating.”
The committee is closely monitoring the situation and will revise the air quality scenario accordingly, according to the same statement.
According to the global environmental NGO Greenpeace, New Delhi has been the most polluted capital in the world for the past four years in a row.
And it’s not just the Indian capital, as a study published in the scientific journal “The Lancet Planetary Health” revealed that pollution caused more than 2.3 million premature deaths across the country in 2019.