The Air Quality Index shows that air pollution levels have hit 614 on a scale on which 100 is considered unhealthy
Tourists visiting the Indian capital face a new challenge. They can still visit landmarks such as Jama Masjid, the city’s Grand Mosque, but it is barely possible to see them through the thick smog.
And as well as donning modest garments, visitors have started wearing masks, too.
However, whilst they have the option to leave, locals are stuck breathing in the harmful particulates.
Over 4,000 schools in New Dehli have been closed after levels of air pollution hit a record high.
The Air Quality Index, which measures the concentration of poisonous particulate matter in the air, stands at 614, over 6 times the level considered safe. The maximum reading on the scale is 500.
UrbanEmissions</a> forecast for PM2.5 across India, and pay attention to the northern India (Indo-Gangetic Plain) <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IndiaAQ?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IndiaAQ</a> <a href="https://t.co/ebCVKtEjKe">pic.twitter.com/ebCVKtEjKe</a></p>— Air Quality in India (airqualityindia) November 12, 2017
“You can see if you run or if you cycle, the amount of pressure you have to exert to breathe in, is tremendously high,” explains local resident, Subhankar Tomar.
Chaos on the roads
On the roads, visibility is poor, and drivers struggle to make out the break lights of vehicles in front of them, causing accidents and several highway pile-ups.
A gas chamber
The dense smog, a combination of vehicle emissions, industrial pollution and crop burning, is packed even tighter together in the cold weather.
However it is difficult to regulate all these factors, as India’s system of governance is highly decentralised.
https://t.co/HOWcv4DZXL Delhi is blanketed with toxic smog. Why? Here’s a quick summary of the politics.— Julian Marshall (@MarshallJulian) November 12, 2017
As the authorities struggle to get to grips with the problem, New Delhi’s chief minister has described the city as “a gas chamber.”