air pollution india
© Amal KS/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
India Gate in New Delhi, India, amid smog seen on November 15, 2021.
Pollution levels in New Delhi, considered the world's most contaminated capital city, have gone off the charts in recent weeks.

Authorities in India plan to enforce a new lockdown to combat air pollution in New Delhi, the world's most polluted capital city.

Pollution levels in some parts of city have registered off the charts several times over the past fortnight. On Tuesday, the air quality index scored 437 out of a maximum 500 points.

Indian cities have long struggled with pollution, but levels spike each winter as fumes from farmers burning their crops mix with pollution from cars and industrial plants, the Associated Press reported.

At an emergency meeting Tuesday, New Delhi officials said they were planning a weekend lockdown and work-from-home order to counter the issue.

"We have proposed a weekend lockdown, we are ready for it. Our strategy will depend on the court's directions now," Gopal Rai, the Delhi minister for environment, forest, and wildlife, told NDTV.

The declaration follows that taken by the New Delhi government on Saturday, which said schools would shut for a week from Monday and that construction workers must stay at home for three days from Sunday, the Times of India reported.

On Monday, India's Supreme Court said it advised authorities to outlaw all nonessential road travel and make people work from home, Reuters reported.

The Supreme Court is set to vote on which measures to impose, NDTV said.

A fresh lockdown in New Delhi would come hot on the heels of the region's COVID-19 lockdown that only ended in May.

At the COP26 climate summit in the UK last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was initially praised after pledging that India would cut emissions to net zero by 2070.

However, the country changed its plan at the last minute to "phase out" coal use to "phase down" coal use, angering climate activists and multiple politicians.