Delhi smog like being in a ‘gas chamber’
DELHI was compared to a “gas chamber” by its chief minister, as 1800 schools were shut following one of the city’s worst-ever pollution spells.
Thick smog has blanketed the Indian capital for days, with local and central authorities meeting to resolve the crisis.
“The pollution has gone up so much that it is like a gas chamber outside,” Delhi state chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said.
He said fireworks during the recent Diwali Hindu festival only “marginally added” to the pollution levels, which are fuelled by vehicles and trash burning.
“The primary reason for the current spell is crop burning in neighbouring states,” Mr Kejriwal added.
New Delhi’s air quality has worsened over the years, a result of rapid urbanisation that brings pollution from diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and industrial emissions.
It also suffers from pollution from open fires lit by the urban poor to keep warm in winter and for cooking.
A new study by UNICEF says some 300 million children live with outdoor air so polluted it can cause serious physical damage, with the situation most acute in South Asia. –