NEW DELAY – A thick fog blanket in the Indian capital, New Delhi, is forcing schools to close, burning eyes and lungs, and calling on residents to take stronger action.
Indian leaders have responded by pointing fingers at each other in the annual tradition.
The central government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has accused city officials of failing to act. The country’s Supreme Court has ordered the closure of factories and the burning of farms by farmers. But the court’s other efforts include ordering the installation of a pair of air purifier towers last year, to no avail.
The air urchins and their towers stand as symbols of India’s deep political crisis. Pollution has become an annual phenomenon, and scientists in the country can accurately predict the worst days. But deep-seated nepotism and official instability have hampered efforts to clean up the air.
New Delhi residents disagree on who is to blame but agree that more needs to be done.
“I have been a refugee for the last three weeks. I was so sick that I could not take it anymore, ”said Jay Dar Gupta, an entrepreneur who sells air pollution control equipment and face masks.
Mr. Gupta became an anti-pollution activist and entrepreneur in 2013, in an air-conditioned town in the lower Himalayas, between Delhi and Musori.
“It is very unfortunate in a country where the Supreme Court can intervene every time a health emergency occurs. That will tell you everything about the health and well-being of our country, ”Mr. Gupta said. “Nobody cares”
The court entered the weekend after the 18-year-old environmental activist filed a complaint and the city passed levels of pollution comparable to high levels of wildfires. He criticized the authorities for not taking any action.
Earlier this week, Deli’s emergency measures went into effect. Construction activity, diesel generators and trucks are prohibited. Schools were closed and employers were asked to keep half of their staff at home. Six power stations outside New Delhi have been ordered shut down.
Under pressure from the court, city officials also resorted to other forms of jokes. These include anti-fog guns, fire trucks to spray water on roads, and chemical dust protection.
“These are not uncommon measurements,” said a member of the Mothers of Warrior and a group of mothers striving for fresh air. “These are the responses, the responses of the knees. You know that nothing can happen unless you are politically motivated.
Broadly speaking, India’s air quality suffers from fossil fuels, which grew after two decades of rapid economic growth. Last year, India was home to 15 of the world’s 20 most dangerous cities.
It will be difficult to breastfeed the country with coal and other fossil fuels, as evidenced by this month’s climate negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland. India is already struggling to meet its basic energy needs. During the Scottish talks, India and China at the last minute demanded that the language of the treaty be amended, rather than “minimizing” coal.
Mr Modi argues that the rise of coal and other fossil fuels in India is helping to build an economy that will lift millions out of poverty. However, the problem of carbon dioxide emissions is exacerbated by the inability of urban dwellers, especially the poor, to generate electricity.
Cities are increasingly suffering from car emissions and poor residents are suffering from fires that cook and heat food, especially in cold weather in November. Climate change in New Delhi is particularly acute for farmers in the neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana. The bad weather is concentrated in the Indo-Gangtik plains of northern India, with both the Tar Desert and the Himalayas producing poisonous stew.
Mr Modi’s government says the opposition, led by the opposition party, has failed to curb its own pollution policy, for example, during traffic jams. Earlier this week, Adesh Gupta called on Delhi President Arvind Kjerial to step down.
Mr Gupta said: “According to Kegriwal, Deli has made it a smoky city rather than a world-class city.
Deli officials, for their part, said Mr Modi’s government had failed to persuade farmers in nearby states to stop clearing their fields.
“Farmers in neighboring states are being forced to burn straw because their government is not doing anything for them,” he said.
Last year, the Supreme Court intervened and ordered the two sides to take measures such as banning wildfires and controlling power outages. He also ordered the construction of two test towers earlier this year, although he was skeptical about the impact. A study published last year in the journal Atmosphere called the process unscientific.
“Can we vacuum our air pollution problem using smoke towers? The answer is no,” the researchers said.
Still, it is a challenge for those who want to escape the city’s bad weather.
As the copper sun set behind the smoke sky, Jasmer Singh landed under a chimney in central Delhi as it sucked in polluted air. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), air pollution is relatively small, but it is far from safe.
“The weather here is nice, light and good,” said Mr. Singh, a volunteer at a nearby Sikh temple.
Some members of both Mr. Modi’s party and members of the opposition say they want to take the problem seriously.
BGP lawyer Vikas Mahatme summed up the views of many politicians: “The game of crime will always be there.” They are not voters to be considered.
Still, he noted that it would be difficult for all parties to work together. “We are not very active,” he said. “I say to you freely.”