Ground Report | New Delhi: New Delhi pollution; A thick cloud of pollution has replaced the air in New Delhi, forcing more than 25 million people to breathe the same amount of pollution as if they smoked 20 cigarettes a day. Such is the impact of this event that the city government ordered this Saturday the closure of schools, teleworking of public employees, and the stoppage of construction.
It is not for less. The average air quality index (AQI) has been above 400 points in the last week, with the maximum on this scale being 500 points. According to the reference values, everything above 100 points is considered dangerous for children, the elderly, and people with respiratory or heart problems, while above 300, the effects are considered dangerous for the general population.
The toxicity of Delhi’s air is a problem attributed to several factors, including polluting emissions from coal-dependent factories, burning stubble, the use of firecrackers during festival season, and emissions from vehicles, a cocktail that is it worsens with the drop in temperature at this time of year.
“Deterioration of air quality is common in northern India in winter, especially in the Indo-Gangetic Plain, due in part to emissions from anthropogenic activities such as traffic, cooking, heating, and heating. stubble burning, which accumulates in the region due to its topography and persistent cold weather conditions, ” explains Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the Copernicus Atmospheric Watch Service (CAMS).
In this sense, CAMS has warned that the haze may last until spring when rising temperatures and changes in climate will help dissipate pollution. Until then, other cities such as Lahore (Pakistan), Dhaka (Bangladesh), and Kathmandu (Nepal) will suffer the consequences of the event.
Several studies have shown that chronic exposure to harmful gases and small particles, such as particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM 2.5), can have harmful effects on health, reducing life expectancy by more than eight months of average and in two years in the most polluted regions and cities.
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In view of the dangers posed by air pollution, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently updated the air quality indicators for the main air pollutants after 15 years without relevant changes. Now the stricter standards, in the case of PM 2.5, establish a limit of 10 micrograms per cubic meter and 15 micrograms per cubic meter for PM 10.
If we make a comparison with these values, in New Delhi the new WHO values were multiplied by 60 over the weekend. For the Swiss air quality technology company IQAir, this is further proof of why last year it ranked the Indian capital among the 30 most polluted cities in the world.