Toxic smog engulfs New Delhi, India, prompting lockdown

Toxic smog engulfs New Delhi, India, prompting lockdown


It happens every winter in the sprawling capital of India. cold air arrives, trapping the dust and other pollutants emitted by the 20 million residents. The result? A foul, suffocating smog that envelops the city and stops everyday life.

This is the third day this week that air quality in the city has exceeded the “severe” threshold, reaching 445: India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences announced on Friday. That figure is 10 times higher than the target level set in the World Health Organization’s 2021 air quality guidelines, which: advises 24-hour average 45.

As smog descended on Delhi and surrounding areas, officials on Friday ordered the closure of schools, factories and construction sites and diesel trucks prohibited from bringing non-essential goods to the capital. About half of the city government employees were urged to work from home.

The WHO estimates that millions of people die each year from air pollution and recognizes it as the world’s greatest environmental health threat. IQAir, a Swiss air quality company, ranked New Delhi, the most polluted capital of 2021.

Air pollution is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and lung cancer and was the leading cause of death in India in 2019. government data.

Siddharth Singh, author of The Great Mist of India. on Twitter that, unlike immunity from a virus or a vaccine, “the human body can’t get used to air pollution” because “particles get into your lungs, your bloodstream and then lodge in your organs.”

Both state and federal governments in India have come under fire for failing to tackle air pollution. And as the crisis grew this week, regional politicians tried to blame each other for the health risks.

At a press conference on Friday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Delhi and Punjab should not be held responsible for the smog, which he called a “north Indian problem”.

He said there would be no solution without joint state and federal action, adding that six months after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) formed the government in Punjab was “not enough” for the government to implement solutions.

India’s Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav, however, blamed the northern state of Punjab for failing to stop farmers from burning crop residues, writing: Twitter: that “there is no doubt who turned Delhi into a gas chamber”.

In Twitter: In October, Vimlendu Jha, an environmentalist and founder of the Swechha youth organization, said the Delhi government lacked “political will and urgency”.

Central and state governments have “failed to find a medium- to long-term solution to this problem,” Jha writes, “often stopping short of simply blaming farmers and spending money instead on farm reforms, promotion of crop rotation, technological support, etc. ยป

The crisis comes as India’s government on Friday called on rich nations to honor their pledge to provide $100 billion a year in climate finance to developing countries and increase the amount at next week’s UN climate conference.

Masih reported from New Delhi.

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