A dense smog covered Tuesday the Indian capital, Delhi

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The Indian Medical Association (IMA) declared “a state of medical emergency” and urged the government to “make every possible effort to curb this menace”. The levels of tiny particulate matter (known as PM 2.5) that enter deep into the lungs reached as high as 700 micrograms per cubic meter in some areas. The IMA has also recommended that the city’s half marathon, due to be held on 19 November, should be cancelled.

smog-in-Delhi
Smog in Delhi

“It’s almost impossible to breathe in Delhi today,” a resident wrote on social media. It was one from many similar messages. The chief minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, has asked his education minister to consider shutting down schools for a few days. Runway visibility dropped to around 400m at 8am in the morning  Train operations were also impacted. Officials at the weather department said the weather was expected to remain cloudy for the next two to three days and the temperature to fall further, suggesting any immediate respite from the prevailing conditions was unlikely. Pollution levels in the Indian capital was a major problem in the last years, which is aggravated by low wind speeds, dust from construction sites, rubbish burning in the capital and firecrackers used in festivals. A plan to combat pollution was adopted in October, including traffic restrictions and the shutdown of a major power plant. Results are not relevant, however, at least for instant.

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