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New Delhi lifts construction ban, air quality “slowly improve” | Environmental News

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On Monday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of the Indian capital fell to 303 of 500 from 499 nearly a week ago.

The environment minister of the Indian capital said that due to a slight improvement in air quality, New Delhi has lifted the ban on construction activities, but schools and offices will be closed at least until Wednesday.

On Monday, Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) fell from 499 to 303 of 500 nearly a week ago, when the city of about 20 million people was shrouded in dense fog.

According to government monitoring agencies, current AQI levels still indicate “very poor” conditions.

Interactive-Air Pollution Symptoms(Al Jazeera)

“Air quality is slowly improving,” Gopal Lei, the capital’s Minister of Environment, Forestry and Wildlife Development, said at a press conference. “Workers are facing difficulties, which is why we decided to resume construction activities.”

Rai said the authorities will monitor construction sites to ensure that builders comply with the government’s dust control measures.

In an interview with Reuters later last week, Rai said that if severe air pollution continues to plague the Indian capital, the city will consider restricting private cars from driving on alternate days.

In addition to banning buildings, the city government has also closed schools and offices, allowing people to work from home.

Vehicles were seen covered in smoke on a highway in New Delhi [File: Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]

Rai said at a press conference that the authorities will review the city’s air quality on November 24 and then decide whether to reopen schools and offices.

“We are monitoring closely,” the minister said. He also urged residents to use public transportation.

The Center for Science and Environment Think Tank stated earlier this month that between October 24 and November 8, more than half of Delhi’s air pollution was caused by vehicle emissions.

Doctors said last week that the suffocating air in New Delhi has caused more children to be hospitalized with breathing problems. The government has shut down five power stations and extended school closures to curb the crisis.

The air quality in Delhi deteriorates sharply in winter, and Delhi is often listed as the most polluted capital in the world. As the temperature drops in winter, pollutants from crop straw burning, transportation, industry, and coal-fired power plants outside cities are often trapped.



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