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Delhi pollution: 'Every time I go outside my eyes start to burn'

bbc.co.uk

Nov 23, 2021

Schools in Delhi, India, are to remain closed until further notice because of the high levels of air pollution in the city.

The smog has been really bad recently and has been caused by a combination of car and factory emissions, fires being used to clear farmers' fields and recent celebrations.

It has become a danger to people's health because of the toxic particles in the air hurting people's eyes and making it harder for them to breathe.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi is at hazardous levels, which means schools which had only recently opened after Covid-19 restrictions had to shut again on 15 November.

All schools and colleges in the Indian capital city, Delhi, closed last week after worsening levels of air pollution.

Health officials have asked people to not do any outdoor activity, to avoid getting ill.

The air turns especially toxic in winter months as farmers in neighbouring states burn leftover crops to make way for growing wheat.

Low wind speed also plays a part as it traps the pollutants in the lower atmosphere.

This year, the pollution has become so severe that India's Supreme Court - the country's highest court - warned state and national governments to take "imminent and emergency" measures to tackle the problem.

Earlier this year, the Delhi government opened its first "smog tower". It was a $2 million installation that can half the amount of harmful particles in the air in a small area.

Experts say cleaning up the air requires drastic measures but according to Geeta Pandey from BBC News in Delhi those actions are not a priority for the country's leaders

Apart form telling schools and many government workers to stay at home there's also been a ban on the entry of trucks in Delhi and the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan except those carrying essential goods.