India's capital chokes on severe smog on Friday

India's capital chokes on severe smog on Friday

October 23, 2020

India’s capital chokes on severe smog hours after Donald Trump described the country’s air as ‘filthy’

  • High levels of emissions, cooler temperatures and slow winds all contributed
  • Every winter, the air in New Delhi l turns into toxic soup because of pollution 
  • The smog came the day after Donald Trump called India’s air ‘filthy’ in debate
  • Wednesday report found exposure to pollution led to 6.7 million deaths in 2019

New Delhi was blanketed in noxious haze Friday as air pollution levels in parts of the city soared to ‘severe’ levels, hours after US President Donald Trump described the air in the vast nation as ‘filthy’.

Smoke from agricultural burning, vehicle fumes and industrial emissions – combined with cooler temperatures and slow-moving winds that trap pollutants over the city – turns air in the Indian capital into a toxic soup every winter.

The worsening conditions came as Trump complained that action on climate change was unfair to the US.

‘Look at China, how filthy it is. Look at Russia, look at India – it’s filthy. The air is filthy,’ Trump said at his presidential debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden.

On Wednesday, the ‘State of Global Air’ report found that long-term exposure to air pollution led to the deaths of around 6.7 people in 2019 – 1.6 million in India.

A noxious smog settled on India’s capital of New Delhi on Friday as pollution levels in parts of the city soared to ‘severe’ levels

On Wednesday, the ‘State of Global Air’ report found that long-term exposure to air pollution lead to the deaths of around 6.7 people in 2019 – 1.6 million in India. Pictured: The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium under heavy smog conditions in New Delhi on Friday

The air quality index at Delhi’s 36 pollution monitoring sites – which monitors tiny PM2.5 and PM10 particles that get into the bloodstream and vital organs – was between 282 and 446, pushing levels into the ‘severe’ category, the Central Pollution Control Board said.

The ‘good’ category is between 0-50, the government’s environmental watchdog added.

A ‘significant increase in stubble fire count’ to 1,213 in Haryana and Punjab states was the highest of this season and made up 17 percent of Delhi’s PM2.5 levels, the state-run System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research added Friday.

‘Further deterioration of (air quality) is expected for the two days,’ SAFAR said.

This season’s burning started earlier because of advanced sowing and harvesting by farmers amid fears of labour shortages during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said. 

Scientists warned this year’s pollution season would make Delhi’s 20 million residents more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

The air quality index at Delhi’s 36 pollution monitoring sites – which monitors tiny PM2.5 and PM10 particles that get into the bloodstream and vital organs – was between 282 and 446

Smoke from agricultural burning, vehicle fumes and industrial emissions – combined with cooler temperatures and slow-moving winds that trap pollutants over the city – turns air in the Indian capital into a toxic soup every winter

‘Look at China, how filthy it is. Look at Russia, look at India – it’s filthy. The air is filthy,’ Trump said at his presidential debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden on Thursday night

‘Air pollution increases the risk of noncommunicable diseases – the same underlying conditions that make people more likely to experience severe illness or death from Covid-19,’ epidemiologist Sumi Mehta from global non-profit Vital Strategies told AFP news agency.

Healthcare systems, stretched by the pandemic, could be further stressed by more hospitalisations from pollution-related illnesses, researchers added.

‘There are serious worries that during winter when higher air pollution levels in any case worsens respiratory illness and increases hospitalisation, the vulnerability to Covid-19 may be further enhanced,’ Anumita Roy Chowdhury of the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment told AFP.

Healthcare systems, stretched by the pandemic, could be further stressed by more hospitalisations from pollution-related illnesses, researchers added

The chief medical officer of Gurugram city told The Times of India Thursday some recovering Covid-19 patients were experiencing a re-occurrence of respiratory conditions triggered by the heightened air pollution

China and India made up over half of pollution-related deaths – 1.8 million and 1.6 million respectively, the ‘State of Global Air 2020’ report showed

The chief medical officer of Gurugram city near New Delhi, Virender Yadav, told The Times of India Thursday some recovering Covid-19 patients were experiencing a re-occurrence of respiratory conditions triggered by the heightened air pollution.

The annual ‘State of Global Air 2020’ report, released on Wednesday, found that long-term exposure to air pollution led to the deaths of around 6.7 people from strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, lung cancer, chronic lung diseases and neonatal diseases in 2019.

China and India made up over half of such deaths – 1.8 million and 1.6 million respectively, the report showed.

It also stated that globally, air pollution is the fourth highest cause of deaths and is the largest risk factor for deaths in India, followed by high blood pressure, the Times of India reported. 

Source: Read Full Article