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New Delhi Has Become the Most Polluted City in the World

The air quality in India’s capital city has become a danger to citizens after a toxic smog began to overtake parts of the city starting last Friday. Restrictions of vehicular use and primary school schedules have been stalled until Nov. 10 in hopes of the smog possibly lifting. However, students in the suburbs were instructed to use masks, a rule that has not been implemented since the COVID-19 pandemic. 


The Delhi Air Quality Index (AQI) has reached the level of “hazardous” according to IQAir, and citizens are warned against going outside without a face mask. Every year, as winter approaches and low temperatures arise, pollutants from sources such as vehicles, industries, construction and crop burning remain in the air. 


The main complaints about the smog from New Delhi residents are itchy throats and irritation in the eyes. As of Nov. 7, the AQI for the city is at 473, which is incredibly dangerous and can affect both the healthy and the sick. The AQI considers 0-50 to be “good” which is leagues away from New Delhi’s current air quality. 


New Delhi Smog


The local government will implement an “odd-even” rule as a measure against the elevating levels of pollution, according to CBC. The rule allows vehicles with odd registration numbers to be on the road on odd dates and vice versa with even registration numbers. This rule, however, is not new as it has been used multiple times since 2016. 


Pollution levels are expected to rise from Nov. 13-20 after the Hindu festival of Diwali due to firecrackers despite the ban. By Monday, Nov 6, New Delhi was considered the 2nd most polluted city in the world, however, IQAir’s website has moved it to first place today moving Lahore, Pakistan to second place. 


Despite air quality being unsafe to walk outside without a mask, the cricket World Cup match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh happened in New Delhi on Monday. Players were given air purifiers in their dressing rooms and water sprinklers were used to reduce air pollutants. 

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