Doctors warn of health emergency as smog blankets India’s capital

November 7, 2017 | By | Reply More

A public health emergency was declared in New Delhi Tuesday as a choking blanket of smog descended on the world’s most polluted capital city.

smog blankets India's capitalThe Indian Medical Association’s declaration came as the US embassy website said levels of the fine pollutants known as PM2.5 that are most harmful to health reached 703 — well over double the threshold of 300 that authorities class as hazardous.

“We have declared a state of public health emergency in Delhi since pollution is at an alarming level,” the head of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Krishan Kumar Aggarwal told.

“Delhi authorities have to make every possible effort to curb this menace.”

The World Health Organization in 2014 classed New Delhi as the world’s most polluted capital, with air quality levels worse than Beijing.

Since then authorities have closed power plants temporarily and experimented with taking some cars off the road.

“Delhi is becoming unliveable, particularly for children, as the pollution has reached uncontrollable levels.”

Delhi’s air quality typically worsens ahead of the onset of winter as cooler air traps pollutants near the ground, preventing them from dispersing into the atmosphere, a phenomenon known as inversion.

Firecrackers set off to celebrate the Diwali festival of lights in the city add to the toxic mix created by pollution from diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and industrial emissions.

Running in such conditions could trigger asthma attacks, worsen lung conditions and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, it said.

A report in the Lancet medical journal last month said pollution had claimed as many as 2.5 million lives in India in 2015, the highest in the world.

India’s Central Pollution Control Board said high levels of moisture in the air and a lack of wind meant emissions had become trapped in the environment.

Press journalist for HRO media – Ignacio Damigo reports.

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Category: International

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