Schools shut as smog sparks health ‘emer­gency’

The Myanmar Times - - World -

AU­THOR­I­TIES in Delhi yes­ter­day closed schools, halted con­struc­tion work and shut down a ma­jor power plant af­ter days of chok­ing smog led to warn­ings of a health “emer­gency” in the world’s most pol­luted cap­i­tal.

Pol­lu­tion lev­els have spiked in re­cent days as farm­ers in neigh­bour­ing In­dian states burn crop stub­ble af­ter the har­vest and tem­per­a­tures cool, trap­ping pol­lu­tants in a smoggy haze over the city.

Delhi’s air qual­ity gen­er­ally wors­ens with the on­set of au­tumn, par­tic­u­larly af­ter the Di­wali fes­ti­val when mil­lions of rev­ellers let off heav­ily pol­lut­ing fire­crack­ers.

But this year’s change has been par­tic­u­larly dra­matic, with the Amer­i­can em­bassy re­port­ing haz­ardous pol­lu­tion lev­els for sev­eral days run­ning.

Yes­ter­day morn­ing it put lev­els of PM2.5 – the fine par­ti­cles linked to higher rates of chronic bron­chi­tis, lung cancer and heart dis­ease – at an off-the-charts 778.

Lev­els be­tween 301 and 500 are clas­si­fied as “haz­ardous”, mean­ing ev­ery­one faces a risk of res­pi­ra­tory ef­fects and should stay in­doors, while lev­els above 500 are be­yond the of­fi­cial in­dex.

On Novem­ber 6, hun­dreds of peo­ple, many wear­ing face masks, gath­ered in cen­tral Delhi to de­mand im­me­di­ate ac­tion to curb the pol­lu­tion lev­els, cur­rently around 30 times the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s rec­om­mended PM2.5 safe limit of 25 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre of air.

Long queues formed out­side shops sell­ing face masks, a rel­a­tively new phe­nom­e­non in Delhi, as are the air pu­ri­fiers in homes.

The Delhi govern­ment has an­nounced a se­ries of mea­sures in­clud­ing shut­ting schools for three days and ban­ning all con­struc­tion work for five days.

It also said it was con­sid­er­ing cloud-seed­ing to pro­duce rain, a tech­nique Bei­jing used to clear the air ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games.

Com­muters jour­ney along a ma­jor road as heavy smog cov­ers New Delhi yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.