Delhi govt to submit proposal on lockdown to SC today to tackle air pollution

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi will submit a proposal on imposing a lockdown and its modalities to the Supreme Court on Monday in view of the rising air pollution in the Capital.

It comes days after the top court asked the central and city governments to take immediate steps to improve the air quality in Delhi and suggested measures such as stopping vehicles and clamping a lockdown in the national capital.

With the onset of winters, Delhi's air quality plunges to hazardous levels every year due to stubble burnings, emissions from transport, coal-fired plants outside the city and other industries, as well as open garbage burning and dust.

This year, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in and around the city has worsened to 470-499 on a scale of 500, according to federal pollution control board data. That level of pollution means the air will seriously impact people with existing diseases and even those who have healthier lungs.

With the situation continuing to remain grim, the AAP government ordered the closure of schools till November 20 and asked all government offices in Delhi to work from home, starting from Monday. It has also banned construction activities till November 17.

"In the order issued on late Saturday night by the department, we have clarified that those schools or educational institutions where exams are already being conducted will remain open. All other educational institutions will be closed till November 20," Gopal Rai, Delhi's environment minister, said on Sunday as the department issued a notification for effective implementation of the emergency measures.

The AAP government has also suggested shutting down diesel generator sets and coal kilns in Delhi, increasing parking fees, increasing the frequency of metro and bus etc to mitigate the pollution.

Rai also said that the main motive behind all these emergency measures is to reduce vehicular and dust pollution in the city.

Meanwhile, under the containing measures, 400 tankers will be sprinkling water to settle the dust in the city. The government will complete the work of spraying bio-decomposer solutions for stubble decomposition in 4,000 acres of fields by November 20.

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