Wed, Dec 05, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Pollution watchdog fines Delhi for not curbing city’s smog

AFP, NEW DELHI

A family rides a scooter wearing pollution masks in New Delhi, India, on Nov. 21.

Photo: AP

India’s National Green Tribunal has slapped New Delhi’s government with a US$3.5 million fine for failing to enforce rules to reduce smog in the world’s most polluted major city, officials said yesterday.

The environmental watchdog penalized the capital administration for its lack of oversight after it emerged that some polluting industries were still burning harmful waste in the open.

The tribunal had been hearing a plea from Delhi residents complaining about factories flouting laws on trash fires.

It said the Delhi government needed to instruct the court on how it would proceed with tackling the annual crisis that plagues the capital city of 20 million.

Each winter, Delhi chokes through haze so extreme that levels of airborne pollutants routinely eclipse safe limits by more than 30 times.

An estimated 1.1 million Indians die prematurely from air pollution every year.

The US embassy Web site in Delhi showed that the level of harmful airborne particles yesterday reached 290 — nearly 12 times the WHO’s safe limit.

Delhi, which has shut down power plants and banned heavy trucks in a bid to curb smog, has accused other states of not playing their part.

In particular, the capital has blamed governments in neighboring Punjab and Haryana for crop fires that burn every year, sending smoke eastward.

Acrid smoke from these fires mingles with pollutants from cars, factories and construction sites in Delhi to create a lethal and persistent smog cocktail.

Delhi was among 14 Indian cities that figured in a WHO list of the 20 most-polluted cities across the globe this year.

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