In which I report for Vice magazine from New Delhi, which the WHO determined to be the most polluted big city on the planet. It sure feels like it.
New Delhi is choking on its own air.
On January 1, India’s capital made an attempt to address its status as the world’s most polluted big city, according to the World Health Organization, by implementing a temporary “odd-even scheme” for automobile use. Private vehicles could only be driven on days that matched their plate number or risk a $30 fine. There were loads of exemptions, including the two-wheelers that dominate the roads, hybrids, and cars driven by VIPs or women (with no men in the vehicle). There were jokes about “men riding in the dickey” — the trunk — of cars and more serious conversations about immediately buying a second car to get around the restrictions. But after the 15-day plan came to end, overall sentiment was high as researchers rushed to declare it a success or failure.