New Delhi residents are suffering from a poisonous smog which the Indian capital's chief minister has called a "gas chamber" that pushed authorities to declare a public health emergency on Monday, November 4th.
Pollution in Delhi has reached its worst levels so far this year, at almost 400 times the amount deemed healthy, causing planes to be diverted away from the city, The Guardian has reported. Sachin Mathur, 31, a cab driver in north-west Delhi, said he had to stay in the open for work and had difficulty catching his breath and could barely keep his eyes open on the roads, said The Guardian.
Over the last 10 years New Delhi has become the world's most polluted capital city. Each winter throughout the past decade, New Delhi has witnessed a growing pollution problem. Current levels are the worst in three years despite efforts to control annual pollution levels.
According to the US embassy in Delhi, on Monday morning, the concentration of PM2.5 -- fine particles of less than 2.5 microns, that can enter the bloodstream and penetrate the lungs and heart, was at 613, nearly 25 times the safety limit set by the World Health Organisation. On Sunday, November 3rd it approached 1,000, according to AFP.