Authorities in the Indian capital city of New Delhi are restricting many private vehicles from public roads in a bid to reduce the toxic smog engulfing the metropolis.
The move has seen vehicles with odd-number license plates restricted from use on odd dates of the week while vehicles with even-numbered plates can only drive on even-numbered dates.
NBC News reports that the move came after New Delhi commenced emergency control measures and triggered the closure of schools when pollution levels reached a three-year high.
The city’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, urged residents across New Delhi to follow the rule and for private taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers to support it. The restrictions, lasting two weeks, will see almost 1.2 million fewer vehicles on the roads every day.
Many residents, as well as traffic police officers, have been seen wearing protective masks to deal with the smog, yet not all residents believe the scheme to restrict certain vehicles from the roads will help.
“I don’t think this odd-even scheme will do anything. It’s mostly the stubble burning in the states of Punjab and Haryana which contributes to the pollution, and industrial pollution is also high, “ Delhi resident Ajay Jasra said.
The World Health Organization reported in 2018 that India has the world’s 10 most polluted cities. Innovative solutions have been tried by authorities to deal with the issue – for example, last year, firefighters were ordered to sprinkle water from high-rise buildings to settle dust in the air.