Air pollution in the Indian capital city of New Delhi currently far exceeds the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) threshold for 'hazardous', meaning that 'everyone may experience serious effects'. As a result, authorities have banned the use of a large number of cars from November 4-15 using the odd-even scheme whereby cars with a number plate ending in an odd number will not be allowed to drive on 'odd' dates, and vice versa for even-numbered cars.
Data reported by the U.S. embassy in the city show how dangerously high the levels of PM2.5 (atmospheric particulate matter that have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers) have become in recent days. Monday, the first day of the ban, had an average of 553 - even exceeding values of the EPA category 'hazardous' and entering into undefined territory. Tuesday and Wednesday, the ban seemed to show its affect, with pollution levels sinking again.