Delhi’s air pollution reaches a WHO health threshold of 100 times

The smog season starts with the air quality index close to the lowest possible level of 500 and no discernible improvement in the annual deadly blight on life.

Delhi saw extreme air quality on Friday, and the city was shrouded in a dense, toxic haze. This signaled the start of the pollution season, which has turned into an annual disaster for the capital of India.

The World Health Organization’s healthy limit is 100 times higher than the air quality index that Delhi nearly reached, which resulted in the closure of schools and the prohibition of non-essential construction.

Over the past week, the city’s air quality has gotten worse. This is because more farmers in Punjab and Haryana, two nearby states, have been burning their fields during crop planting season. Winds have also contributed to this problem by bringing pollutants into Delhi, where they are trapped by dropping temperatures.

More than a thousand farm fires were reported in a single day on Sunday in the state of Punjab, a 740% increase in the number of incidents. The burning of trash at waste plants, construction, and vehicle emissions are additional sources of pollution in the city.

Delhi, which has a population of about 33 million, is frequently named the world’s most polluted city. The University of Chicago’s energy policy institute has compiled this year’s air quality life index, which suggests that Delhi’s population may live 11.9 years less than they would otherwise due to poor air quality.

Physicians in Delhi reported that they were starting to notice the negative effects of pollution on the citizens of the city. “There is an increase in the number of patients experiencing breathing difficulties, as well as an increase in the number of people with colds, coughs, and watery, irritated eyes. All age groups are impacted by this. Time to put on masks and go outside only when absolutely necessary, Nikhil Modi, a physician at Apollo hospital in Delhi, declared.
The Central Pollution Control Board reports that October saw the highest pollution levels in Delhi since 2020.

The Aam Admi party (AAP)-led Delhi government has maintained that it has a pollution action plan, but it doesn’t seem to have had much of an impact on the annual sharp decline in air quality that wreaks havoc on the lives of Delhi residents, usually from November to January.

The AAP government has been combating pollution by spraying water on roads to cut down on dust and erecting two 80-foot-tall “smog towers” that cost more than $2 million each and are meant to purify the air but have been found to be largely ineffective by scientists.

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