What had initially been labelled a mild irritant, has now assumed monstrous proportions. The smog that has threaded its smoky fingers through New Delhi now has the city in its hold.
The smog has had a major effect on the health of the city. Many have taken ill over the persistent pollution, which makes it difficult to breathe. The smog has also taken its toll on visibility, this in turn has led to multiple accidents.
With safety in mind, the New Delhi Government moved to shut down schools and colleges within the city on Tuesday. It issued public warnings, informing parents to keep their children indoors.
Both public and private transportation has also been suspended within the city with major trains refusing to ply, and flights refusing to take off.
The government has also banned any incoming trucks into the city to reduce pollutants. It has even halted all civil construction projects to reduce the level of dust entering the air.
On Thursday, Indian media even suggested that the government may bring back a temporary ban to force some cars off the road. The air quality readings in the city have reached horrifying levels in the past few days.
The U.S. embassy’s air quality index even registered a value above the 1,000 mark at one point.
The measure in question is based on the concentration of fine particulate matter, also known as PM 2.5, per cubic meter. Any microscopic particles are considered to be extremely hazardous to health since they are minute, and could enter the lungs. From there it is likely that they may make their way into other organs, leading to a myriad of serious diseases.
According to sources, the worst particles are the ones that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter.
In order to protect themselves from this invisible risk, citizens of New Delhi have taken to wearing masks to protect their air. However, it does not seem to have been very effective since reports from hospitals across the capital show patients with chest pains, breathlessness, and burning eyes.
One doctor expressed anger at the situation, stating that it was the worst condition the city had ever been in.
While the government is attempting to rectify the situation, there is truly very little it can do at this point.
In more than one way, the city is under a kind of siege, although the enemy is no more visible than air.