India’s capital New Delhi blanketed in smog; govt bans private construction

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India’s capital, New Delhi, was engulfed in thick smog early on Monday as cooler weather exacerbated pollution and the government banned private construction in and around the city to try to limit dust and emissions.

Residents of New Delhi and its suburbs endure poor air every winter as colder, heavier air traps construction dust, vehicle emissions and smoke from the burning of crop stubble in the nearby states of Punjab and Haryana.

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The air quality index in several parts of the city was between 350 and 400 on Monday, meaning it was “very poor,” according to the Central Pollution Control Board.

The central government banned all private construction in the city and surrounding areas on Sunday. Authorities also sprayed water in some neighborhoods to try to clear the air.

The government said last week it would ban diesel autorickshaws in the capital and from 2027, allowing only those three-wheeled taxis that are powered by compressed natural gas or electricity to operate.

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