How is Delhi in winter

New Delhi is gasping for air

The head of administration of New Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, had already ordered the issue of five million breathing masks to school children in the capital. The schools were closed completely until Tuesday and all construction activities were also prohibited. In addition, the firing of fireworks was banned. According to a scientific survey, at least one million Indians die prematurely every year because of air pollution.

The reason for the even worse air than usual was the fireworks to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights Diwali. After the population had celebrated the festival by firing tens of thousands of fireworks, thick smog was already over the metropolis at the beginning of the week. Because of the fumes from cars, trucks and factories, the city of 20 million New Delhi regularly suffers from smog anyway.

Farmers burn their fields

The air pollution in New Delhi is not just city-made. Indian farmers have a habit of torching their fields after the rice harvest in order to prepare the sowing for the coming season. The general weather situation at the beginning of winter with low temperatures and little air movement contributes to the fact that emissions from industry and motor traffic condense into thick smog.

More than two million farmers would burn 23 million tons of crop residues every winter on around 80,000 square kilometers of arable land in northern India, reported BBC, among others. Using satellite data, Harvard University researchers estimated that nearly half of the air pollution in New Delhi between 2012 and 2016 was due to burning fields.

Poor air quality goes viral on Twitter

The measuring stations recorded up to 533 fine dust particles of less than 2.5 micrometers per cubic meter of air at various points in the 20 million metropolis. The WHO recommends that PM-2.5 levels should not exceed 25 micrograms per cubic meter on average in 24 hours.

The tiny particles are particularly harmful to health because they penetrate deep into the lungs and sometimes even into the bloodstream. Unless going out of the house is also "seriously harmful to health", the media warned the residents. They began to publish photos of the smog on social networks. The hashtags “#DelhiAirQuality” and “#FightAgainstDelhiPollition” went viral on Twitter.

Cricket match before cancellation

Due to air pollution, it was not clear on Friday whether a cricket match between India and Bangladesh scheduled for Sunday could take place. The team's coach from Bangladesh, Russell Domingo, wore a protective mask during training on Friday. In December 2017, two players from Sri Lanka vomited because of the smog pollution.

According to the Indian daily “Hindustan Times”, the team from Bangladesh was considering ordering several respirators. Head coach Domingo complained of breathing problems, burning eyes and dizziness. “Our trainer didn't feel well. He said his eyes were burning and he was having trouble breathing, ”a team member from Bangladesh was quoted as saying.

In addition, players express their displeasure that they cannot see the ball in the smog. The people in charge in New Delhi have already been spoken to. They informed the team from Bangladesh that the air would be better until Sunday and that a change of location would not be possible anyway due to the shortage of time.