INDIA: Air quality in New Delhi deteriorated to its worst this year on Tuesday. Many residents are complaining about stinging eyes, sore throat, and breathlessness in the middle of the pandemic. Currently, New Delhi is facing two major problems; the first is the increasing rise in air pollution and the second is the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state.
According to the reports, New Delhi’s overall Air Quality Index (AQI), rose to 724, its highest level in a year. AQI measures pollutants including PM2.5 particles. The deadly particulate matter PM2.5 causes cardiovascular and respiratory diseases such as lung cancer. The PM2.5 stood 30 times over the World Health Organization’s safe limit on Tuesday. Delhi’s air pollution levels remain ‘severe’ for the seventh consecutive day.
Recently, New Delhi suffered a third wave of COVID-19 infections. Along with that, the capital is facing one of the worst spells of pollution in years due to crop waste fires and local emission from vehicle exhausts. Interestingly, pollution in New Delhi had almost disappeared earlier this year when the government imposed a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. Meanwhile, authorities have banned the sale and use of firecrackers ahead of the Diwali festival in a bid to curb pollution. However, officials and businesses worry that a halt in industrial activity could hurt an economy only just bouncing back from a record slump in the second quarter.