NASA Releases Smog Images of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Pakistan

Professionals urged to play active role in democracy

A woman takes her child to school on the family scooter, Thursday morning in New Delhi.

The Central Pollution Control Board said the level of pollutants are going up due to a "cumulative effect", under which pollution keeps on rising in the absence of any dispersion due to adverse weather conditions. The safe limit is 50.

Though the severe levels of pollution, which started on Tuesday, are forecast to reduce over the weekend, the concentration of particulate matter would still be several times over the standards next week, when Odd-Even is implemented.

The particles have been linked explicitly to heart disease and premature death, and levels in Delhi reached 726 micrograms per cubic metre of air, according to NDTV.

"Waking up with a headache, breathlessness and throat irritation every day", social media user Bhavani Giddu wrote on Twitter.

Many people stayed home and restaurants in some of the city's most crowded parts were deserted. The Haze has enveloped much in north India and Pakistan.

The city will curb auto use next week, the state government said, in the latest attempt to bring about cleaner air.

"It is an emergency situation", said Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot.

A sweeping set of measures including odd-even auto rationing scheme, ban on civil construction activities, closure of schools and ban on entry of heavy vehicles except for those carrying essential commodities have been announced over the last two days to tackle the situation. Schools have been shut for the week. Relief is likely from Sunday, when the wind speed would increase.

"There is such a cloud over us that you probably need artificial rain or some such to clear this", said Dr Vivek Nangia, a pulmonologist at Delhi's Fortis hospital. The main contribution came from the smoke from stubble burning in the neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana that have turned the city into a "gas chamber" leaving people breathless.

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