The Commission for Air Quality Management on Tuesday issued a ban on coal in the entire Delhi-National Capital Region from January 1, 2023, PTI reported.

However, it has exempted the use of low-sulphur coal in thermal power plants in the region.

In an order issued on June 3, the air quality panel said the coal ban will come into force from October 1 in areas with Piped Natural Gas, or PNG, connections. In areas where the PNG supply is still unavailable, the ban will come into force from January 1, 2023.

“In full effect, the use of coal as fuel shall be banned across National Capital Region with effect from January 1, 2023,” the panel said.

New Delhi had emerged as the world’s most polluted capital city for the fourth year in 2021, according to a report by Swiss organization IQAir.

The report was released in March and had conducted studies on the levels of PM2.5 pollutants – tiny particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres, which can enter the lungs and the bloodstream – across 6,475 cities in 117 countries.

According to the report, Delhi had witnessed a 14.6% increase in the concentration of PM2.5 in the atmosphere in 2021 with levels rising to 96.4 micrograms per cubic metre from 84 micrograms per cubic metre in 2020.

The PM2.5 concentration in Delhi’s air was nearly 20 times above the safety limit of 5 micrograms per cubic metre set by the World Health Organization.