The rapidly worsening air pollution in New Delhi is causing a total of 1.1 million people to die prematurely each year. A new study of air pollution is showing that this is the deadliest in the world, passing China now. This toxic cloud of pollution has fallen on India’s capital causing headaches, coughs, delaying flights and trains, and even taking the step of closing schools for around a week.
The pollution lately has been alarming and is considered 30 times what the World Health Organization says is safe. Even if you have air filters in your house, that chemical smell still lingers and finds its way in. The air irritates the throat and tastes smoky with the smell of paint. Many people feel sick all day. The smog is so heavy and thick that drivers can’t see in front of them causing highway pileups and serious accidents. The smog is from a combination vehicle emissions, smoke from crops burning on farms nearby, and also industrial pollution. The smog looks like a mixture of fog and white smoke. The cold weather at this time of the year packs in the smog making it even worse and even harder to breathe.
It isn’t uncommon to see people with masks of some sort over their faces. Citizens have been seen with tshirts tied over their faces when driving their motorcycles. There have even been incidents of seeing women using their long hair to cover their faces. In parts of the city levels of PM are at 2.5. PM are particles that can settle deep in your lungs. They have climbed to more than 700 micrograms per cubic meter which is considered dangerous to breathe.
Since the air is so dangerous, it seems that 4 million children will be getting a long holiday break. It is believed to be safer to stay home than to be on the streets of New Delhi even though most households do not own a single air filter.
Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s Chief minister described New Delhi as “a gas chamber”. Officials decided to halt construction projects going on to reduce dust and to ban the use of heavy trucks coming in for the day. The problem in India seems to just be continuing to spiral out of control due to the government not being able to get ahead of things. Things get complicated because the rural areas burning crops fall under different settings than the suburban areas suffering in the smog.