The city’s toxic air has been linked to allergies, respiratory conditions, birth malformations and increasing incidence of cancers. But as a recent car-free experiment showed, action to cut pollution can be effective

For a few hours one morning two weeks ago, private cars were banned from driving into the heart of old Delhi. It was hard to tell at the messy road junction in front of the historic Red Fort and the shopping street of Chandni Chowk, though, which was still crammed with auto-rickshaws and buses barrelling along the roads with seemingly little regard for any traffic rules.

But Delhi’s so-called “car-free day” experiment was nevertheless a success: scientists monitoring the air here, routinely one of Delhi’s most polluted areas, found a dramatic 60% drop in the amount of dangerous pollutants – the tiniest particles that come out of traffic exhausts and which can exacerbate health problems such as asthma, heart disease and stroke – compared to the previous day.

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Source: Guardian Environment