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India's top court tells states to stop crop burning as New Delhi's air turns hazardous

NEW DELHI: India’s Supreme Court ordered authorities in the states surrounding New Delhi on Tuesday (Nov 7) to stop farmers burning crop residue, as the air quality from smog engulfing the world’s most polluted capital during the past week reached hazardous levels.

Air quality dips every year ahead of winter, when calm and cold winds trap pollutants from sources including vehicles, industries, construction dust, and agricultural waste burning.

The court has issued similar orders in past years, with limited effect as state authorities report inability to control the burning despite fines and sometimes due to farmers’ hostility towards officials.

Delhi has stopped local construction, closed primary schools till Nov 10 and will impose restrictions on use of vehicles next week to fight pollution, but it wants its neighbouring states to control crop residue burning.

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