Delhi braces for pollution with emergency plan

Smog spikes during winter in Delhi, when air quality often eclipses the World Health Organization’s safe levels. (AFP)
Updated 15 October 2018
0

Delhi braces for pollution with emergency plan

  • Under the new strategy, restrictions on construction sites and traffic will be imposed depending on the air quality

NEW DELHI, India: Delhi’s biggest coal power plant was set to shut down Monday as a new emergency plan to improve air quality in one of the world’s most polluted cities came into force, Indian officials said.
Under the new strategy, restrictions on construction sites and traffic will be imposed depending on the air quality in the megacity of some 20 million people.
When the air is classed as “poor,” as it was on Monday, authorities will ban the burning of garbage in landfills as well as fire crackers and certain construction activities.
When the air is “very poor” diesel generators will be halted, parking fees hiked and more public transport provided. “Severe” measures include closing brick kilns.
When it reaches “severe+,” a new category, authorities will stop the entry of trucks except those with essential goods and regulate the number of cars on the road.
The Badarpur thermal plant was due to permanently close on Monday because of its high contribution to pollution in the city.
Smog spikes during winter in Delhi, when air quality often eclipses the World Health Organization’s safe levels.
Cooler air traps pollutants — such as from vehicles, building sites and farmers burning crops in regions outside the Indian capital — close to the ground.
Authorities in the sprawling city attempted to implement similar measures last winter but to little avail.
This is partly because authorities are powerless to prevent some sources of pollution.
“Our aim is to stop the air quality from deteriorating further though certain factors are out of our control such as crop burning, wind speed and lack of public transportation,” environment authority official Bhure Lal said.


US Coast Guard seizes $500 million worth of cocaine

Updated 26 min 10 sec ago
0

US Coast Guard seizes $500 million worth of cocaine

  • Officers arrested 49 suspects on the boats that were being used to transport the drugs
  • Officials say there are indications that the use of cocaine is on the increase

US authorities seized about 18.5 tons of cocaine with a street value of $500 million in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the US Coast Guard said on Friday.
The cocaine was taken off the Coast Guard cutter James in the Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday after it was confiscated from 15 drug smuggling vessels in the international waters, the Coast Guard said.
Multiple US Coast Guard cutters helped seize the drugs of Mexico, Central and South America, it said.
Some 49 suspects were also arrested and will be prosecuted in southern Florida, the Miami Herald reported.
Cocaine remains one of the most popular illegal drugs in the United States, where most of the world’s cocaine is consumed, according to federal officials.
“There are troubling early signs that cocaine use and availability is on the rise in the United States for the first time in nearly a decade,” the US State Department said in a global narcotics trade report in 2017.
Potential global cocaine output reached 1,410 tons in 2016, the highest level ever estimated, the United Nations said in a report on drugs and crime in 2018.