Smog emergency in Delhi
The Indian capital city, Delhi, is currently suffering from severe levels of toxic air pollution which is making life unbearable for its citizens. The smog has become such an issue that many people are removing their families from the city in fear for their lungs and lives.
For seven days the city has been enveloped by smog. These conditions have been caused by combination of smoke from the recent Diwali celebrations and farmers to the north of the city burning their fields to improve the health of their plants and soil.
The toxic smog covering the city currently contains a concentration of harmful chemicals so high that regular air quality assessment tool cannot actually measure it. Levels have reached up to 15 times the norm which the Indian government considers safe, making this a national health crisis.
Delhi’s chief minister has suggested a raft of measures aimed at saving people from this very modern plague. All schools have been shut for three days and children have been advised to stay indoors as much as possible. All construction and demolition work has been postponed for five days in an effort to not contribute any further to the malaise, although that seems a case of too little too late. Efforts are also being made to fight fires at landfill sites which burn continuously and further poison the air.
For many years Delhi has competed with Beijing for the title of most polluted city in the world. This recent crisis takes the Indian city into new territory, however, and makes Beijing look like an environmental paradise in comparison. Approximately 620,000 Indians die every year due to air pollution and events such as this in Delhi will only exacerbate that figure. As always with modern environmental disasters, it is children and the elderly who will pay the greatest price for the negligence of others.