India temporarily closes coal-fired power plants to reduce pollution in the capital

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India has temporarily closed five coal-fired thermal power plants around the capital, New Delhi, as part of its effort to combat air pollution, according to an order from the Ministry of Environment.

The Air Quality Management Commission also banned trucks that transport non-essential goods and halted construction in the capital and neighboring towns.

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In its latest order, the panel said there is an “urgent” need to ensure that air quality does not deteriorate further.

Pollution levels hit “severe” levels this month, with New Delhi’s Air Quality Index reaching 499 on a scale of 500, indicating that healthy people were also at risk for developing respiratory illnesses.

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Delhi, one of the world’s most polluted capitals, battles chronic winter smog every year as a drop in temperatures traps deadly pollutants from coal-fired power plants outside the city, vehicle gases and open-air burning of garbage.

To protect students from the worsening air pollution crisis, the Delhi government has closed schools for a week, but the Air Quality Management Commission has extended the restriction until further notice.

The Commission also said that at least 50% of civil servants must work from home by 21 November. The Supreme Court of India asked this Monday (15) the group to suggest measures to reduce pollution in northern India.

The Court also criticized the federal and local governments for their failure to mitigate pollution in the city of 20 million people who put up with toxic air nearly every winter.

Reference: CNN Brasil

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