A thick layer of smog has settled over Delhi, creating such severe pollution and air quality that there has been a call for a public health state of emergency.

An air quality index in Delhi showed the air quality to have an AQI around 500, when a good AQI would be around 50 to 100. 

Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy, CSE, said, “This requires urgent emergency action on key combustion sources (vehicles, industry, waste burning) and dust sources (construction and roads). To prevent further trapping of pollution when there is no wind to blow this away.”

The thick smog lasted two days, causing a drop in temperature as well as more stagnant air quality.

The CSE said, “Compared to the first smog episode of the previous four years, the current smog has matched the duration of the first smog of 2018 and 2020 season — both lasted six days. If conditions do not improve, it might overtake the 2019 smog that lasted eight days.”

This drop-in air quality poses a severe risk to human life as the air is highly polluted and stagnant. This could result in breathing issues and eye irritation as well as much more serious repercussions down the road.

Government leaders need to make meaningful changes to how pollution is regulated. This kind of air pollution can have significant and long-lasting health impacts. Things will only get worse if the way we treat the planet does not change soon. 

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