Local authorities in the capital New Delhi announced on Wednesday, October 17, that air quality had reached the "very poor" category, the fourth-worst level on the official Air Quality Index six-tier scale. This current worsening of air pollution is reportedly due to a reduction in wind speeds and low temperatures, coupled with crop burning in neighboring states. This wave of pollution is expected to last until at least October 19. The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to fight high levels of pollution has been in place since October 15.
This air pollution could pose a health hazard, notably for certain vulnerable groups - e.g. children, seniors, pregnant women, and people suffering from asthma and other respiratory issues. Air pollution can also be harmful to heart health and may make it more likely that some people will have a heart attack or stroke.
Delhi is notoriously one of the world's most polluted cities. India has faced criticism for high levels of air pollution in both urban centers and rural areas due to crop burning and other open fires, vehicle and industrial emissions, and dust from construction. Plummeting air quality is typical around the month of November due to an increase in agricultural fires.
Individuals present in the Delhi region are advised to monitor the air quality situation, limit outdoor activity, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention if experiencing breathing difficulties.
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