India is temporarily closing five coal-fired power plants around New Delhi

NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 17 (Reuters) – India has temporarily shut down five coal-fired power plants around the capital, New Delhi, as part of its efforts to combat air pollution as ordered by the Federal Ministry of the Environment’s Air Pollution Panel.

The Air Quality Management Commission has also banned trucks carrying non-essential goods and stopped construction in Delhi and its neighboring cities.

In its most recent order, the panel said the “compelling” need to ensure that air quality would not deteriorate further.

Pollution levels rose to “serious” levels this month, with the New Delhi Air Quality Index rising as high as 499 on a scale of 500, indicating that healthy people were also at risk for respiratory disease.

Delhi, one of the world’s most polluted capitals, fights chronic winter fog every year as falling temperatures bind deadly pollution from coal-fired power plants coming out of the city, vehicle fumes and open burning of rubbish.

The Delhi government said on Saturday that schools would be closed for a week to protect students from a worsening air pollution crisis, but the Air Quality Management Commission has continued the restriction so far.

The commission also said at least 50 percent of government workers should work from home by 21 November.

On Monday, the Supreme Court of India asked the Commission to propose measures to reduce pollution in northern India.

The court also criticized the federal and local governments for failing to reduce pollution in a city of 20 million people who suffer from toxic air almost every winter.

Conditions worsen in November as the concentration of 2.5 micron-wide particles, known as PM2.5, small enough to enter the bloodstream when inhaled, increases, due in part to farmers burning crop residues forward. from the new sowing season.

Reported by Neha Arora and Mayank Bhardwaj; Edited by Christian Schmollinger

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