Delhi, the fog capital of the world, continued to make life miserable for man and beast despite continued attempts by authorities to reduce the impact of pollution on citizens by introducing traffic curbs, stopping construction activities and shutting schools to protect children from the hazardous environment.
In a fresh move authorities in the capital on Monday introduced the odd-even number daily rotation of cars plying on the roads in a move to curb the number of cars on the roads each day by half amidst criticism by the Supreme Court for the state government’s failure to curb pollution that has been increasing each year.
The US Embassy air quality index, which measures the concentration of tiny PM 2.5 particles, exceeded 500, indicating serious aggravation of hazards that can cause heart and lung disease, and premature mortality in people with existing diseases and the elderly.
The state government has declared a public health emergency as pollution at this level also meant serious risk for the respiratory systems for the general population.
On Monday, drivers with even-numbered licence plates got the chance to ply on Delhi’s roads, which resulted in low level of traffic on the roads, although it did seem to help lower fog levels.
The new rule, however, inconvenienced the general public with people finding it difficult to reach destinations on time as they struggled to find a taxi.
Ride-hailing services were exempt from the rule and both Uber and Ola had announced they would not impose surge pricing for the duration of the odd-even scheme.
A government monitor on Sunday showed air quality had hit the worst level for the year, at 494 on a scale of 500. The level was well above 400 early on Monday.
According to independent online air quality index monitor AirVisual, New Delhi was the most polluted major city in the world on Monday, at twice the level of Lahore in Pakistan, which was a distant second.