India’s Parliament debates toxic air danger

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s Parliament has discussed the toxic air threatening the lives of the capital region’s 48 million people, with opposition leaders demanding the creation of a parliamentary panel to remedy the situation on a long-term basis.

In unprecedented debate on the issue, the leader of the opposition Congress party, Manish Tiwari, says the federal government has let the country’s top court take the initiative in deciding how to combat the problem.

Air pollution in northern India peaks in the winter due to smoke from agricultural fires. The smoke mixes with vehicle emissions and construction dust. Earlier this month, the air quality index in New Delhi exceeded 500, about 10 times the recommended maximum.

On Tuesday, strong winds brought the level down to 249.

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