Air pollution skyrockets to hazardous levels in India
(C) 2018, THE WASHINGTON POST · MATTHEW CAPPUCCI NOV 08, 2018 - Toxic clouds descended upon New Delhi on Thursday, forcing residents indoors and posing significant health concerns. The lethal smog came just hours after celebrations to mark Diwali, the Hindu “festival of the lights.”
Commemorating the triumph of good over evil, the holiday happens every fall but this year the atmosphere threw a wrench in the plan. The city of over 18 million awoke Thursday morning to a shroud of hazardous haze, spurred by construction activity and vehicle emissions and exacerbated by fireworks detonated the night before.
The air pollution soared to 20 times safe levels. India is infamous for its pollution, rivaling China as the greatest polluter of greenhouse gases and particulate matter by gross domestic product. A 2015 study warned that nearly half of all New Delhi schoolchildren would develop irreversible lung damage before reaching adulthood.
This latest pollution episode comes ten days after the World Health Organization released a report concluding that 93 percent of children worldwide breathe toxic air daily.