India’s Supreme Court Seeks Curbs to Clean Delhi’s Toxic Air
(Bloomberg) -- India’s Supreme Court called for urgent restrictions on vehicle movement and industrial activities in and around Delhi to help clean some of the world’s dirtiest air.
A panel headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana on Monday ordered the federal and state governments to decide steps in a day. These may include imposing work from home, or even a lockdown if needed, as the nation’s capital has been choking for about a week.
“It is unfortunate that we have to set the agenda,” Ramana said. Delhi shut schools, construction activities and some government offices for a week after the top court termed the situation as an emergency on Nov. 13.
Similar measures were last imposed in the winter of 2019, while the covid-related lockdown kept pollution in check last year.
The air quality index, or AQI, for New Delhi was over 450 most days last week, with readings below 50 considered safe and anything above 300 as hazardous.
Air pollution costs Indian businesses $95 billion or roughly 3% of its GDP every year, according to U.K.-based non-profit Clean Air Fund and the Confederation of Indian Industry. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month pledged that India will aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2070, the country fails to tackle toxic smog that covers several of its cities every winter.
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