NEW DELHI, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Two Indian cities joined New Delhi on Monday to be among the world’s 10 most polluted cities, with thick smoke in the air a day after revelers went wild with firecrackers to Diwali, the annual Hindu festival of light.
The capital New Delhi took, as often, first place. Its air quality index (AQI) is 407, which classifies it in the “dangerous” category, according to the Swiss group IQAir.
Financial capital Mumbai came sixth with an AQI of 157, while Kolkata in the east is seventh with an AQI of 154.
An AQI level of 400 to 500 impacts healthy people and is dangerous for those with existing illnesses, while a level of 150 to 200 brings discomfort to people with asthma, problems pulmonary and cardiac. Levels from 0 to 50 are considered good.
A thick layer of smog had started circulating in New Delhi from Sunday evening, sending its AQI to an alarming level of 680 shortly after midnight.
Every year, authorities ban firecrackers in the capital, but these bans appear to be rarely enforced.
MP Saket Gokhale posted a letter on
The Delhi Police spokesperson did not respond to several calls from Reuters seeking comment.
Air quality in northern India deteriorates each year as winter approaches, when cold air traps pollutants from vehicles, industry, construction dust and the burning of agricultural waste.
Authorities in New Delhi postponed an earlier decision to restrict vehicle use after a brief spell of rain on Friday brought some respite from a week of toxic air.
The local government said it planned to maintain the ban on construction activities and keep schools closed to protect the population from pollution.
Reporting by Tanvi Mehta; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Miral Fahmy
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