Monday, November 4th 2019, 6:24 pm - Air quality sensors have recorded pollution levels that have not been seen for several years.
The capital city of India has declared a public health emergency as air pollution levels rise to dangerous levels. Schools have closed in New Delhi, flights have been diverted and cancelled due to poor visibility, and national monuments have been engulfed by the toxic smog.
Pollution levels reached a three-year high on November 3 and the Air Quality Index (AQI) across parts of the central region exceeded 900, which is significantly higher than the "severe-plus emergency" level of 500.
India's government environment monitoring agency, SAFAR, has cited agricultural crop burning in neighbouring states as a large contributor to the dangerous smog. Air pollution often reaches high levels around November each year in this region of India as farmers burn crops to clear their fields and thousands of fireworks are set off to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
Officials in India say that the smog will likely have "adverse health impacts on all" and New Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has implemented a traffic rationing scheme to help control pollution emitted from cars. Kejriwal's plan only permits owners of private vehicles to drive on alternating days, based on whether their license plates end with an even or odd number.
Social media users in New Delhi have shared scenes of the smog online and have noted several health impacts including headaches, burning eyes, and breathing becoming increasingly difficult.
See below for a look at the air pollution emergency in New Dehli:
This is Delhi NCR (Noida) today. It literally smells like burning leaves. AQI is over 900. https://t.co/giAF0EVmcOSiddharth Singh on Twitter
Impossible to breathe in NCR. #Delhi is in a terrifying state. Stubble burning by farmers in #Haryana and #Punjab has pushed PM2.5 to 35% and AQI is in danger zone. Farmers are holding millions of lives to ransom. But nobody dares take on farmers. Politics above public health.Kanchan Gupta on Twitter
India air pollution reported at "unbearable levels". Last week New Delhi recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 999, beyond which reading is not possible - that's 16 times worse than the prescribed level!!!😳😳😳Who said, "Honey, I've killed the planet", again?Charles Onyango-Obbo on Twitter
Is this a sepia filter? Or just the view from my window in Delhi? [AQI was at 900.] #pollutionkillsDevina Buckshee on Twitter
I think we are heading towards Delhi recording the most polluted day in the history of world!! Most of the Delhi areas are showing an AQI of 999 because the meters can't record above that. This is a DISASTER! #DelhiAirEmergencyVarun Jhaveri on Twitter
The view in Delhi at 4 pm. Truly apocalyptic. The AQI outside is 485, indoors with purifiers running its at 220. The safe limit is 60. I've simply run out of words to describe thisSumant Sinha on Twitter
Reached back to Delhi and what a mess. This is the view from my apartment. A drastic change for my lungs within 9hrs of journey from Seoul (current AQI of 50) to Delhi (current AQI of 999) ... #worsttimetoliveinDelhi #DelhiPollution #DelhiAirEmergencyMayank Vatsa on Twitter