Delhi shuts schools as smog thickens

NEW DELHI: Pollution levels hit alarmingly high levels in New Delhi on Tuesday, prompting authorities to announce emergency measures including the closure of primary schools and steps to check the hazardous air quality.
With an estimated population of 19 million, New Delhi is ranked as among the most polluted cities in the world, but plans to tackle the worsening ambient air quality do not appear to have worked so far.
Residents of the city woke up to a morning shrouded by thick smog. Doctors warned of a health crisis, advising people not to venture outdoors unless absolutely necessary and calling for the cancellation of a half-marathon in the city. The levels of suspended particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) hovered between 400 and 900 micrograms per cubic metre from Tuesday morning, several times the safe limit.
The WHO recommends that people are not exposed to PM2.5 levels above 10 micrograms averaged over a year, or 25 micrograms in any 24-hour period, as the small particles can get deep into the lungs and even the bloodstream. SEE ALSO P10