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Health emergency declared as smog rises in New Delhi


Reuters
News agency

Tuesday, November 7, 2017, 7:41 PM - Pollution in New Delhi hit a dangerous level on Tuesday as doctors declared a public health emergency in the Indian capital.

On Tuesday, the air quality index, which measures the concentration of poisonous particulate matter in the air, hit the "severe" level of 451 on a scale where the maximum reading is 500 and where anything above 100 is considered unhealthy by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

President of Indian Medical Association (IMA), Krishan Kumar Aggarwal, suggested closing down of schools and asked people not to venture out. The IMA also urged the city's biggest running race, to be held on Nov. 19, to be called off to protect runners and volunteers from exposure to high levels of deadly particulate matter that lodge deep in the lungs.

A thick fog that hung over the sprawling city worsened conditions. Residents and tourists complained of eyes smarting, irritation in the throat and difficulty in breathing.

Air and rail traffic were also affected by smog as around 20 flights were delayed and a dozen trains from the national capital were running late due to decreased visibility.

Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said there was no let up expected in the smog conditions over the next three days. Vehicle emissions and dust from construction sites were the factors blamed for that spike, besides firecrackers and farm burnings.

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