The Indian capital Delhi, home to 20 million people, has been engulfed in record smog for days this week as schools closed and the deadly level of pollutants in Delhi’s air was about 10 times as much in Beijing (which is also famous for air pollution).
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As the Delhi government held emergency meetings to seek measures to help the population deal with the smog, doctors are calling for extraordinary measures.
Mr Arvind Kumar, a lung surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital called for an immediate evacuation: "The situation as it exists today is the worst that I have seen in my 35 years staying in the city of Delhi. As a doctor, I have no problem saying that the situation today is a public health emergency. If you want to protect people, we should be ordering the evacuation of Delhi. Closing down all schools. Closing down all offices."
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The most troubling is the levels of the deadliest, tiny particulate matter known as PM 2.5, which gets deep into the lungs.
According to World Health Organization guidelines, the suggested exposure should be about 10. Anything less than 50 is still considered healthy, and anything above 300 is considered "hazardous."
This week, at 2 pm local time on Wednesday, the Chinese capital Beijing had a level of around 76. Indian capital Delhi at that time measured 833.
<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GSTCouncilMeet?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GSTCouncilMeet</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TipuJayanti?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TipuJayanti</a> Horrible air quality in North India is now taking lives directly. Video of an ongoing pileup on yamuna expressway. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/smogindelhi?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#smogindelhi</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/pollution?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#pollution</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Delhi?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Delhi</a> <a href="https://t.co/Z6m4CkOkbq">pic.twitter.com/Z6m4CkOkbq</a></p>— DMDK4TN (@dmdk4tn) <a href="https://twitter.com/dmdk4tn/status/928966130261147649?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 10, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Furthermore, as you can see, the smog creates hazardous driving conditions which has resulted in multiple accidents.
The heightening of the problem is blamed on farmers in the neighboring states of Haryana and Punjab who burn crop residue on their fields as an annual tradition. This in combination with vehicles and industrial emissions, as well as road and construction dust, combines to a deadly mixture.
Just last year, NASA satellite imagery around this period was showing thick plumes of smoke rising across north India and covering all of Delhi.