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Delhi approves sweeping measures to curb air pollution

Smog engulfed tourists near the India Gate in New Delhi earlier this month. The Indian capital is planning multiple measures aimed at reducing smog, including introducing driving restrictions, shuttering coal plants and stepping up cleaning of dusty streets. (ARKAPRAVA GHOSH/Barcroft Media/Landov)

Delhi will restrict vehicles on roads, close some power plants and clean dusty streets in an effort to reduce air pollution. Santanu Choudhury reports for the Wall Street Journal that the measures follow reports that Delhi’s air is as filthy as Beijing’s — and by some estimates, worse.

Beginning in January, only half of the city’s vehicles would be permitted on roads each day depending on whether their license plates end in odd or even numbers. Trucks also would face limits. Meanwhile, bus service would be expanded in the city, where long distances between neighborhoods make commuters heavily dependent on cars.

Two small coal-fired power plants responsible for excessive emissions are to be closed. To reduce dust levels, the city plans to vacuum streets and add more vegetation near roads, the article says. The Hindustan Times notes here that Delhi is modeling its odd-even plate scheme after a similar one in Beijing. Skeptics question whether Delhi drivers, notorious for ignoring basic traffic rules, will comply. There’s already chatter on Twitter that fake license plates and second cars could allow drivers to evade the rules.

Wall Street Journal

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