New Delhi is engulfed in smoggy air that's 10 times worse than what's 'permissible'
The Indian capital of New Delhi has become enveloped in air quality so poor it’s as much as 10 times worse than what’s permissible in the country.
This, as people there prepare to celebrate Diwali, the country’s biggest holiday of the year.
Coverage of air quality on Globalnews.ca:
Air quality readings captured on Tuesday morning local time showed PM2.5 concentrations (a standardized measure of air quality) reaching as high as 419 µg/m³ (micrograms per cubic metre) in the Sheikh Sarai area of New Delhi.
That’s over 10 times higher than 40 µg/m³, which is the “prescribed permissible standard” for air quality in India, according to a report by the Public Health Foundation of India and the Centre for Environmental Health.
A general view of buildings engulfed in smog in New Delhi, India, Nov. 5, 2018.EPA/HARISH TYAGI via AP
Smoggy conditions are fairly common after monsoon season but the air quality has steadily grown worse in recent years, with the Delhi High Court noting in 2015 that, “it seems we are living in a gas chamber,” the Indian Express newspaper reported.
Numerous factors cause the pollution: emissions from driving and farming are contributors, as is construction dust, according to Bloomberg.
However, the air worsens later in the year thanks to crop stubble burning, which farmers carry out in order to prepare their fields for winter.
Farmers don’t have to burn it — they could use harvesting machines that cost as much as $675.
Many say they can’t afford such equipment. The government has tried to stop the burning but has had little success, Elizabeth Chatterjee, a Queen Mary University of London political science professor, told ABC News.
Upcoming Diwali celebrations had some activists concerned about the use of fireworks and firecrackers, a regular feature of the holiday.
India’s Supreme Court has restricted firecrackers to between the hours of 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Nov. 7, the Associated Press reported.
Firecracker production and sales have been restricted to varieties that don’t pollute as much.
Here are more photos of the New Delhi area enveloped in smog:
India’s Rashtrapati Bhawan, or the Presidential Palace is partly visible due to smog as a street vendor walks along Rajapth, the ceremonial boulevard in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018.AP Photo/Altaf Qadri
India’s Rashtrapati Bhawan, or the Presidential Palace is partly visible due to smog as traffic plies on Rajapth, the ceremonial boulevard in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018.AP Photo/Altaf Qadri
Workers construct a brick wall near an under construction highrise building on a foggy day in Greater Noida, near New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018.AP Photo/R S Iyer
A village man walks carrying a child on his shoulders on a foggy day in Greater Noida, near New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018.AP Photo/R S Iyer
Dust rises as municipal workers use brooms to sweep a road on a foggy day in Greater Noida, near New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018.AP Photo/R S Iyer
Indian government buildings are partly visible due to smog as Indians sit on a lawn in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018.AP Photo/Altaf Qadri
Indian people commute on motorcycles and cars through heavy dust and smog in New Delhi, India, Oct. 19, 2018.EPA/RAJAT GUPTA via AP