Winter is here and Delhi’s apocalyptic air quality has left people gasping for their breath. On Tuesday morning (7 November), the air quality remained in the severe category – sixth day on the trot.

Delhi’s Anand Vihar recorded an AQI (air quality index) of 432, R K Puram at 437, and Punjabi Bagh at 439. This comes after Anand Vihar last week saw an unbelievable AQI of 999 with a thick toxic smog enveloping the area.

Given the alarming levels of pollution – doctors have urged people to mask up – the Delhi government announced the implementation of the odd-even scheme from 13 to 20 November and also announced the closure of schools this week.

“We have taken a key decision to reintroduce the odd-even scheme from November 13. It will remain in effect for seven days,” Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said while addressing the media on Monday.

The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) for the NCAER 2017 India Policy Forum estimated a big decrease in air pollution through the odd-even scheme. By comparing PM2.5 data from Delhi’s monitors with data from monitors in neighbouring cities (such as Gurgaon and Noida) where odd-even did not apply, the study found that the January 2016 odd-even pilot in the winter decreased air pollution during the day by 14 per cent to 16 per cent (but there was no impact during the April 2016 pilot).

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