The air quality index, or AQI, hit 980 at 4:30 am Thursday 8th November, according to website AirVisual, which monitors air pollution around the world. With AQI touching almost 1000, New Delhi was ranked the most polluted city in the world. The levels surged as people violated an order of the Supreme Court and burst firecrackers before and after a two-hour window set for the purpose. Readings below 50 are considered safe, while anything above 300 is considered hazardous. Delhi reached 980. The levels on Thursday came down from their peak, with the gauge reading 622 as of 6:30 am. The smog last year led the capital’s chief minister to declare his city had become a “gas chamber.”
Lahore in Pakistan was at second place with AQI at 273 as of 8 am local time. By comparison, New York had readings of just 29 as of 10 pm on Wednesday.
With different air quality monitors showing varied readings across the capital, it was still clear that New Delhi’s air was the worst in the world. Levels of dangerous PM 2.5 — the fine particles that lodge deep in the lungs, where they can enter the bloodstream — were pushing close to 1,400 in some parts of the Indian capital early on Thursday morning, according to a website run by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, a government agency.
Toxic air is estimated to kill more than 10 Lakh (1 million) Indians each year, according to the non-profit Health Effects Institute.
News Source: Hindustan Times, 8th November