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New Delhi Experiencing 'Severe' Air Pollution, Shuts Schools

New Delhi's government has shut primary schools and banned polluting vehicles and construction work in an attempt to reduce the worst haze and smog of the season.

Authorities have been using water sprinklers and anti-smog guns to control the haze, and many people are using masks to escape the air pollution.

The city government also announced a fine of about $240 for drivers found using gasoline and diesel cars, buses and trucks that create smog.

The air quality index recently went above the 400 mark for tiny particulate matter, a level considered "severe" and more than 10 times the global safety threshold, according to the state-run Central Pollution Control Board. It can cause bronchitis and asthma attacks.

Rajneesh Kapoor, a lung specialist, has advised people to wear masks and avoid morning walks and jogging.

"This is a trigger for all types of respiratory infections and flu. It can cause uncontrollable blood pressure and diabetic problems," he said in an interview with the New Delhi Television news channel.

On November 2, authorities banned all construction work in and around the city with the exception of essential activity such as rail, airport, defense and water pipeline projects.

New Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai warned people about the smog situation worsening with Diwali — the Hindu festival of light that features the lighting of fireworks — on November 12.

New Delhi tops the list almost every year among the many Indian cities with poor air quality — particularly in the winter, when the burning of crop residues in neighboring states coincides with cooler temperatures that trap deadly smoke.

The burning of crop residues is a key contributor to the pollution in north India, and authorities have been trying to discourage farmers from doing this by offering cash to buy machines to do the job.

Bhagwat Mann, the top elected official in northern Punjab state, said his government's efforts have cut the amount of crop residue burning by 30%.


Have you been to India? If so, what parts did you visit? If not, would you like to?

What countries do you imagine have the cleanest air?

Do you expect pollution to become worse over the next few decades?

What are the biggest environmental concerns your country is facing?

Environmental pollution is an incurable disease. It can only be prevented. — Barry Commoner. What are your thoughts on this statement?


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