Year-ender: Top climate-related stories of 2019 | Updated: 2019-12-24 06:40
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India experiences worst air pollution in 3 years

A runner wearing a face mask for protection from air pollution takes part in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in New Delhi, India, October 20, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

Air pollution in New Delhi and northern Indian states peaks in the winter of 2019 as farmers in neighboring agricultural regions set fire to clear land after the harvest and prepare for the next crop season. The pollution in the Indian capital also peaks after Diwali celebrations, the Hindu festival of light, when people set off fireworks.

An "odd-even" scheme will restrict private vehicles with odd-number license plates to driving on odd dates while even-numbered plates are allowed on even-numbered dates. It was begun days after authorities began emergency control measures and ordered the closure of schools as pollution levels reached a three-year high.

World Health Organization data released in 2018 gave India the dubious distinction of having the world's 10 most polluted cities.

Meanwhile, India's Supreme Court sought accountability from state governments over the deteriorating air quality, saying the capital was choking every year, which "could not be allowed in a civilized country."

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