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India’s New Delhi choking on record levels of smog

India’s New Delhi choking on record levels of smog

Unbearable levels of air pollution in India’s capital of New Delhi, declared a public health emergency by the local government as of Monday, have made “the invisible killer, visible”, a UN senior pollution expert has said.

According to media reports, residents of the capital city are set to suffer record-levels of smog for at least a week, even with emergency measures in place to tackle the problem, with some flights delayed and diverted due to thick smog.

Valentin Foltescu, Senior Programme Management Officer for the UN Environment Programme in India, UNEP, told UN News that current levels of fine particulate matter, containing unsafe chemicals harmful to human health, are 40 times higher than the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended level.

The major contributor is poor farming practices, Mr. Foltsecu explained, with states adjacent to the capital region practicing widespread stubble burning in open fields. In addition, waste mismanagement and heavy traffic are also raising toxicity levels.

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