India’s capital and its surrounding region began two weeks of restrictions on Monday, aimed at lowering severe levels of toxic air pollution.
A car rationing system allows private vehicles to use city roads on alternate days, depending on whether registration plates end with odd or even numbers.
According to authorities some 1.2 million registered vehicles in Delhi will be off-road every day during the two-week limitation.
Officials have already declared a public health emergency and ordered schools to stay closed.
Delhi is among the most polluted cities in the world, particularly in winter with chronic levels of hazardous air from October through to February.
Delhi’s state-run Central Pollution Control Board’s air quality index for New Delhi was “severe” at 436 — some nine times the recommended maximum.
Flights to and from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport were delayed or rerouted on Sunday as heavy air pollution enveloped the city.
In the nearby city of Agra, authorities deployed a van with air purification equipment close to the Taj Mahal, in a bid to improve air quality at the tourist site.
Major carriers such as Air India and Vistara were forced to divert flights to airportsas far away as Mumbai and Amritsar on Sunday.
Air pollution sensors in some parts of Delhi were reported to have maxed out at their upper limit of 999 micrograms, with people advised to stay indoors and wear masks.
Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal said the situation had become “unbearable.”
rc/rt (dpa, AP)
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