NEW DELHI, INDIA (NOVEMBER 14, 2017) (ANI) – New Delhi residents on Tuesday (November 14) said they wanted to leave the city to be able to breathe easy as a thick cloud of toxic smog continued to hang over the capital for a second week.
A U.S. embassy measure showed levels of poisonous airborne particles, known as PM 2.5, had reached 376 on Tuesday afternoon – almost eight times the upper limit of “good” quality air at 50.
The air has remained consistently in the “hazardous” category or above those levels, despite measures including an order to halt to all construction activity, restricting vehicles and raising parking charges to encourage the use of public transport.
Local residents stepped out wearing face masks and complained of breathlessness and smarting eyes.
Apart from compounding respiratory woes of the 22 million residents in Delhi, smog also reduced visibility, hitting rail traffic. Reportedly, 73 trains were delayed, 34 rescheduled and 10 cancelled on Tuesday.
The Delhi government declared a public health emergency last week after pollution levels spiked, a yearly phenomenon blamed on a combination of illegal crop burning in northern states, vehicle exhaust and dust.
Over the weekend, authorities began using fire trucks to spray water in parts of the capital to keep the dust and other air particles down, but it has had little effect.