New Delhi is gasping for breath.
The Indian capital, home to some 16 million people, has been engulfed in smog since the last month. Smoke from crackers during Diwali and the burning of paddy straw in adjoining states have compounded the pollution problem in New Delhi, which according to WHO is already the most polluted city in the world.
Doctors have advised those with pulmonary and heart diseases to leave the city, while the state government is considering giving holidays to schoolchildren.
But for many, who still have to work daily to make ends meet, there will be no respite from the hazardous smog. As of 10 AM on Dec. 04, the air quality index in New Delhi was at a “very unhealthy” 286, according to the US embassy’s monitoring station.
“There has been a seven-time increase in pollution levels since Oct. 1,” Anurita Roychowdhury, executive director at New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, told the Press Trust of India. “The winter pollution is going to be very serious. Advisories need to be issued asking people to minimise their levels of outdoor activity.”
The government, meanwhile, has plans to force all commercial trucks that are more than 15 years old to stay off the road from April 2016 to check vehicle emissions.
Here is a glimpse of how people in Delhi are trying to breathe through these difficult times.