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Delhi to restrict vehicles on roads to beat pollution

Vehicle pollution

New Delhi: In a bid to combat rising pollution, the Delhi government on Friday decided that odd and even number vehicles will ply on alternate days in the city from January 1, official sources said.

The decision, taken at a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, will not apply to CNG-driven buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws but will also cover vehicles entering Delhi from other states.

The sweeping move – like the one taken in Beijing in 2013 – will apply to a large bulk of the some 90 lakh vehicles registered in Delhi, where about 1,500 new vehicles are added every day.

Delhi’s vehicular population – which cause choking jams on all weekdays – includes some 27 lakh cars.

The Delhi government has also decided to shut down south Delhi’s Badarpur power plant, one of the coal-based plants of the NTPC.

The government will also launch a web-based app which people can use to report about polluting vehicles in the capital.

The decisions came a day after the Delhi High Court said that the national capital was like a gas chamber, and sought immediate action from the central and Delhi governments.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the air quality of Delhi is said to be “very poor” with an air quality index of 331.

When air quality index ranges between 301 and 400, the air is said to cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.

Earlier measures apparently have not dented the increasing air pollution in Delhi, leading to major health issues.

In October, the National Green Tribunal announced an “Environment Tax” or “Green Tax” on commercial vehicles entering the city.

The Delhi High Court later ordered all private radio taxis to switch over to compressed natural gas (CNG) before March 1, 2016 if they desired to operate in the capital.

NGO Greenpeace warned recently that the indoor air in Delhi was five times more polluted than it should be according to Indian standards.

The WHO, however, says this is 11 times more than their prescribed level.

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