Indian government declares Delhi air pollution an emergency
Capital’s schools closed for three days and building work halted as harmful pollutants reach a level 15 times the safe limit
Sunday 6 November 2016 11.02 GMT
The Indian government has declared lingering, severe levels of toxic air over its capital city an “emergency situation” as Delhi administrators announced a plan to temporarily shut construction sites and a coal-fired power station to bring pollution levels under control.
Schools in the city will be closed for three days and traffic may be rationed after six days of heavy smog and concentrations of harmful particles so high they cannot be measured by most air-quality instruments.
The level of PM2.5 pollutants – the most harmful because they can reach deep into the lungs and breach the blood-brain barrier – have routinely reached at least 999 in parts of the city this week, a reading literally off the charts and more than fifteen times the safe limit of 60.