For a few painful days, Delhi has been blanketed under thick smog.
[Image Courtesy of Radhika Khera/Twitter]
India's capital city, home to 25 million, is under siege and the source of the smog has yet to be pinpointed.
The levels of particulates in the atmosphere reached 700 micrograms per cubic meter. Over the weekend, it reached 100 mcg/cubic meter. That's 70 times the World Health Organization's safety limit.
— Rishi Bagree (@rishibagree) November 6, 2016
This weekend, hundreds gathered outside government buildings in protest. The government declared an "extreme pollution emergency," and proceeded to suspend construction for five days, close 1,800 schools for three days and close a power plant for 10 days.
There's even talk of limiting vehicles on the road if the situation doesn't improve.
— Radhika Khera (@Radhika_Khera) November 6, 2016
The smog comes after the Hindu holiday of Diwali, one of India's most popular holidays. However, it's a far stretch to blame fireworks from the holiday. A government scientist reported that crop fires contributed 70 percent to Delhi's pollution spike.
— KABIR BEDI (@iKabirBedi) November 7, 2016
Gufran Beig, program director fo System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting Research said pollutants from crop fires rose from zero percent on Nov. 1 to 70 percent in just five days.
"Safar's chemistry transport model gives a clear picture of the share of pollution from external sources. It shows pollution load from crop fires in Punjab and Haryana rose steadily after November 1 due to favourable upper air winds," Beig said.
Others hope the pollution levels to drastically drop the rest of this week.