Indian medics declare ‘health emergency’ in Delhi as smog blankets city

Indian medics declare ‘health emergency’ in Delhi as smog blankets city

Harry Cockburn
Tuesday 07 November 2017 21:51
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Smog envelops the skyline at noon in New Delhi, India
Smog envelops the skyline at noon in New Delhi, India

The Indian Medical Association declared a public health emergency in Delhi on Tuesday as a thick blanket of smog covered the capital city.

According to the US embassy, the level of fine pollutants most harmful to health reached more than double the threshold that authorities define as hazardous.

“We have declared a state of public health emergency in Delhi since pollution is at an alarming level,” the head of the Indian Medical Association Krishan Kumar Aggarwal told AFP.

“Delhi authorities have to make every possible effort to curb this menace.”

In 2014 the World Health Organisation said Delhi had become the world’s most polluted capital city with the air quality worse than in Beijing.

In Delhi, power stations have been temporarily closed and there have been some experimental road closures, but this week residents hit out at the efforts to tackle the worsening situation.

"It's a recurring problem and we need to find a quick and permanent solution to it before it is too late,” estate agent Vipin Malhotra told the Times of India

“Delhi is becoming unliveable, particularly for children, as the pollution has reached uncontrollable levels.”

According to AFP, fireworks set off to celebrate Diwali add to the toxic mixture made up of pollution from diesel engines, coal-fired power stations and industrial emissions.

As winter approaches, cooler air traps pollutants near the ground, preventing dispersion into the atmosphere. The air quality is further reduced by the burning of crop stubble outside the city. The practice has been banned, but is still practiced widely by farmers following the harvest in northern India.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal today asked the Education Minister Manish Sisodia to consider shutting schools for a few days due to the levels of pollution in the city.

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