It is being called New Delhi’s “airpocalypse”. The air is so toxic in India’s capital, a city of 18 million people, that a public health emergency has been declared. Schools are shut, all construction work has been ordered to stop, and flights have been diverted or delayed.
On Sunday, the air quality index hit its worst level for the year, at 494 – that is nearly 10 times the safe level of 50.
Delhi’s Chief Minister says the pollution has reached critical levels.
Private cars with number plates ending in an odd number have been temporarily banned from the roads. That has taken away a chunk of the more than 10 million registered vehicles on New Delhi’s roads. A government study says the transport sector is the biggest contributor to the city’s pollution.
Also being blamed are farmers from neighbouring states, who burn stubble after October to clear their fields for the winter crop.
Al Jazeera’s Anchal Vohra has more from New Delhi.
Karthik Ganesan, a research fellow at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, says farmers are contributing to the smog, but they need help to move to greener practices.
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