Delhi air pollution
Delhi pollution update: 15-year-old diesel vehicles to go off roads from today. In picture: Traffic drives through smog in Delhi, India November 7, 2016.Reuters

Owners of older diesel-run cars in Delhi came in for a jolt on Monday, when Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Najeeb Jung ordered that a slew of measures be implemented immediately to combat smog there. Primary among these measures is the de-registration of 15-year-old diesel-run vehicles, on the rationale that diesel as a fuel is a major pollutant. 

Delhi has been under a thick blanket of smog — a portmanteau word that denotes the presence of both smoke and fog, or essentially a mix of fog and polluting particulate matter suspended in the air — for a week now, and sales of air purifiers and anti-pollution masks are going through the roof.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Sunday announced a number of steps his government would take in order to bring down pollution and ensure that people are not affected by it. These included the halting of all construction and demolition and as well as ban on use of diesel-powered generators, except in emergency facilities, for a fixed period. He had also ordered the closure of the Badarpur Thermal Power Station for 10 days. 

Now, Jung has ordered the Delhi Police and the municipal corporations to implement from Monday itself an action plan that includes the deregistration of older diesel-powered vehicles. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has also been asked to take all measures to control the blaze at the Bhalaswa landfill. The blaze is also believed to be a major contributor to the smog. 

Other such measures outlined in the action plan include the complete ban on construction and demolition from Monday to November 14. There will also be a ban on the entry of trucks that are overloaded or passing through. Industries in Delhi that lead to pollution are also expected to face shutdown in light of the heavy smog cover there. 

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