The national capital, Delhi, has always been in the news for its deteriorating air quality. However, today pollution level in Delhi reached unprecedented levels, which has prompted the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to declare an emergency. The IMA has asked the Delhi government to declare a public health emergency. The emergency has become a necessity since the Air Quality Index (AQR) in Delhi-NCR reached a significant high of 446 in the morning hours. At 446, AQI is classified as “severe” and at this level, it can cause respiratory problems in healthy people. Those already suffering from lung problems will face serious health issues. In India, the AQI is classified into six categories – Good (0-50); Satisfactory (51-100); Moderately Polluted (101-250); Poor (251-350); Very Poor (351-430); and Severe (401-500). As can be seen, Delhi-NCR has reached the top danger level of air pollution.
As the winter sets in, the wind speed drops, which leads to the accumulation of various forms of pollutants in the air. The situation in Delhi-NCR is aggravated due to the burning of agricultural waste in adjoining areas. Responding to the high level of pollution, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal called it a ‘gas chamber’. The pollution has also affected visibility in Delhi-NCR, which in turn led to various traffic jams. Trains and flight operations have also been affected due to the heavy pollution. The Delhi government is currently thinking about closing schools for a few days. The fate of Delhi Half Marathon is also in jeopardy due to the high pollution level. People have been advised to stay indoors till the time the situation improves in Delhi-NCR.