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World India's capital chokes on 'severe' smog as farm fires soar

12:21  23 october  2020
12:21  23 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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NEW DELHI (AFP) - New Delhi was blanketed in noxious haze on Friday (Oct 23) as air pollution levels in parts of the city soared to " severe " levels, hours after US President Donald Trump described the air in the vast nation as "filthy".

India ' s capital Delhi was shrouded in a deeper cover of toxic smoke on Thursday, as data showed that Incidents of crop straw and stubble burning across Delhi's neighbouring states soared to 48,689 between Delhi had more " severe " days in the first two weeks of November compared with last year

New Delhi was blanketed in noxious haze Friday as air pollution levels in parts of the city soared to "severe" levels, hours after US President Donald Trump described the air in the vast nation as "filthy".

a group of people riding motorcycles on a city street: Every winter the air in Delhi turns into a toxic soup © Prakash SINGH Every winter the air in Delhi turns into a toxic soup

Smoke from agricultural burning, vehicle fumes and industrial emissions -- combined with cooler temperatures and slow-moving winds that trap pollutants over the city -- turns air in the Indian capital into a toxic soup every winter.

The air quality index at Delhi's 36 pollution monitoring sites -- which monitors tiny PM2.5 and PM10 particles that get into the bloodstream and vital organs -- was between 282 and 446, pushing levels into the "severe" category, the Central Pollution Control Board said.

Smog returns to India capital as wind drops, farmers burn stubble

  Smog returns to India capital as wind drops, farmers burn stubble With industrial activities resuming and cars back on roads, along with less wind, air quality falls to unhealthy levels.The Air Quality Index (AQI) in New Delhi rose past 270 on Friday, according to SAFAR, India’s main environment monitoring agency, after agricultural fires in neighbouring states sent smoke billowing across the city.

India ' s weather office said rain was forecast over the next three days which could help clear the smog . Over the weekend, authorities began using fire trucks to spray water in parts of the capital to keep the dust and other air particles down, but it has had little effect.

India ' s environment ministry late Monday ordered Delhi municipalities to monitor and take action to combat pollutants, including the burning of solid Last week the city government also announced plans to install air purifiers and a mist-making device at major intersections to curb choking pollution.

a large ship in a body of water: The worsening conditions came as Trump complained complained that action on climate change was unfair to the US © XAVIER GALIANA The worsening conditions came as Trump complained complained that action on climate change was unfair to the US

The "good" category is between 0-50, the government's environmental watchdog added.

A "significant increase in stubble fire count" to 1,213 in Haryana and Punjab states was the highest of this season and made up 17 percent of Delhi's PM2.5 levels, the state-run System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research added Friday.

"Further deterioration of (air quality) is expected for the two days," SAFAR said.

This season's burning started earlier because of advanced sowing and harvesting by farmers amid fears of labour shortages during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

The worsening conditions came as Trump complained that action on climate change was unfair to the US.

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Indian city suffering record levels of poor air quality, partly caused by stubble burning.

The air pollution in Delhi, India has reached a ‘ severe ’ level which is visible in photos as a smoggy haze blanketing the city; weather patterns, seasonal variations, recent holiday celebrations, and nearby farming activity have been cited as contributing factors.

"Look at China, how filthy it is. Look at Russia, look at India -- it's filthy. The air is filthy," Trump said at his presidential debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Scientists warned this year's pollution season would make Delhi's 20 million residents more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

"Air pollution increases the risk of noncommunicable diseases -- the same underlying conditions that make people more likely to experience severe illness or death from Covid-19," epidemiologist Sumi Mehta from global non-profit Vital Strategies told AFP.

Healthcare systems, stretched by the pandemic, could be further stressed by more hospitalisations from pollution-related illnesses, researchers added.

"There are serious worries that during winter when higher air pollution levels in any case worsens respiratory illness and increases hospitalisation, the vulnerability to Covid-19 may be further enhanced," Anumita Roy Chowdhury of the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment told AFP.

The chief medical officer of Gurugram city near New Delhi, Virender Yadav, told The Times of India Thursday some recovering Covid-19 patients were experiencing a reoccurence of respiratory conditions triggered by the heightened air pollution.

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