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The thick smog that covers India's capital of New Delhi has been identified as the worst the city has seen in 17 years. The pollution has been described as "[a]ir so dirty you can taste and smell it," with a particle matter concentration of PM2.5 -- 12 times more than the government-reported average, and 70 times more than the World Health Organization regulates.

Capital city struggles with 'tasteable,' toxic winter air


Daksha Rangan
Digital Reporter

Saturday, November 5, 2016, 9:48 AM - The thick smog that covers India's capital of New Delhi has been identified as the worst the city has seen in 17 years.

The pollution has been described as "[a]ir so dirty you can taste and smell it," with a particle matter concentration of PM2.5 -- 12 times more than the government-reported average, and 70 times more than the World Health Organization standards.


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The pollution has brought on serious health risks: severe coughing and burning eyes are just two reported symptoms that have caused outdoor event cancellations and school closures.

Despite efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, many environmentally harmful practices have not received as much government attention as they should.


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Many farmers resort to burning straw or paddy stubble after harvest, which scientists say has been the cause of the recent severity in air pollution.

"Sources of pollution in Delhi and outside of Delhi have exponentially increased in the last couple of days," Polash Mukerjee, research associate with the Centre for Science and Environment, told the Associated Press.

Mukerjee noted that the wind is blowing toward Delhi from all directions, particularly from Punjab and Haryana, "where there are large incidences of crop fires that we are detecting even today."

In October, New Delhi launched a mobile app dubbed "Change the Air," which allows locals to submit photos and comments about sources of pollution. Still, the city struggles with enforcing these new measures regularly.

Related Story: Heatwave melts sidewalks in India. Watch below.

Reference credit to Phys.org

Thumbnail image courtesy of Tawheed Manzoor, Flickr.

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