India’s fantastic air pollution levels have become national tragedy. The following excerpt from a recent The Washington Post story from New Delhi illustrates the magnitude of this crisis. As a government official recently stated, the capital of India has indeed become a “gas chamber” for its millions of citizens.
“New Delhi’s air quality consistently ranks among the worst in the world, but the city’s air pollution this week registered 10 times worse than the air in Beijing, which is notorious for its smog. Residents complain of burning eyes and itchy throats, and doctors said chest infections and respiratory illnesses have surged.
Authorities ordered 6,000 schools to close, trucks except those carrying essential supplies have been banned from entering the city for a week, and construction projects have been temporarily stopped.
Children often feel the physical effects of the toxic air acutely; in addition to closed schools, sports and outdoor play are being discouraged in the toxic air. Many sit cooped up at home, some with little more than a cloth wrapped around their faces to protect against the smoky air.
In some parts of Delhi, air-quality readings were 40 times the World Health Organization’s recommended safe level. Airfare spiked as supply dipped in low-visibility conditions; trains were delayed and bus companies reported that people were canceling tickets out of fear of highway accidents.
A recent study linked 2.5 million deaths in India in 2015 to pollution. Worried parents carried coughing children into hospitals around the city.
Delhi’s chief minister described the city as a “gas chamber,” and the government introduced a slew of emergency measures, including shutting down a coal-fired power plant and polluting brick kilns, and introducing the controversial “odd-even” program, in which cars can be driven only on alternating days of the week depending on their license plate numbers in an effort to curb traffic.”
The Washington Post, New Delhi’s pollution is off the charts — and it’s making residents ill
November 10, 2017
–By Vidhi Doshi