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The Guardian view on air pollution: ministers must act

The Guardian Editorial

On Sunday, the capital city of one of the world’s fastest growing economies was effectively shut down in an emergency act. The reason was not terrorism, but air pollution. The threat to citizens from smog in Delhi was judged so great that traffic was ratioined, coal-fired power stations closed and diesel generators suspended. This was a brave and sane decision in the world’s largest democracy.

Right now Delhi is the world’s most polluted city. But air quality is at crisis levels in cities around the world. More than 300 million children live at the severest risk, Unicef declared last week, and 2 billion in areas where outdoor pollution exceeds health guidelines. Half of Delhi’s schoolchildren have permanently impaired lung capacity, thanks to the air they breathe.

India’s capital city is telling people to stay away or work from home, but offering no compensation to those who cannot, or whose livelihood suffers. This can only be a short-term solution; it hurts those who can least bear it.


The article's full-text is available here.

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