Smog has engulfed New Delhi as air pollution reached “severe” levels in parts of India’s capital city.
Concentrations of fine particles in the air were recorded at three times above the acceptable limits as pollution has worsened with the arrival of winter.
“As the minimum temperature is dropping, gradual fog occurrence during early morning hours is likely to increase,
leading to deterioration of air quality index (AQI),” said the federal government’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
SAFAR said the capital would continue to experience poor air quality for the next few days.
The AQI in parts of the city reached above 400 on Tuesday, which is classified as the “severe” category of air pollution, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The level of fine particles measuring 2.5 micrograms was 180 micrograms per cubic metre of air as of 10am in the Delhi National Capital Region, CPCB showed.
That was three times above the 24 hour acceptable limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metre of air.
Measures to improve air quality not effective
New Delhi is the world’s most polluted capital city and its residents struggle to breathe every winter because cold temperatures and steady winds trap pollutants closer to the ground.
The city’s authorities have introduced several measures over the years to improve its air quality.
These include switching Delhi’s fleet of public transport to cleaner fuel, spraying water from the top of towers and on roads and controlling the burning of firewood and waste during cold weather.
However, experts have said these measures need to be applied across northern India and in the towns around New Delhi that form the wider National Capital Region, which also suffer from poor air quality, in order to effectively control pollution.