The National Capital Region, on the fourth consecutive day after Diwali, remained under a cloud of smoke and fog resulting in low visibility and hardly any sunlight.
The smog, according to experts and doctors, has crossed the standard air quality level and has now reached hazardous heights. A day after Diwali, people woke up with scratchy throats, thanks to air polluted by particulate matter, courtesy firecrackers from the night before.
The air quality is degenerating daily, jeopardising the health of Delhiites. According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), levels of Particulate Matter (PM) touched a record 500 mark on Wednesday, 2 November. The same day, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the AQI touched the figure of 494 in Anand Vihar area. The average AQI rating for Delhi and NCR was 432, or the "severe" category. The safe level is 60.
Asserting that the situation is more than grim, News18 reported that Indian military's top doctor and the honorary surgeon to President Pranab Mukherjee, Lt Gen BNBM Prasad, compared the air quality to nothing less than a death sentence.
Lt Gen Prasad added that Delhi NCR has already crossed Beijing in pollution levels, and the future looks scary.
Catch spoke to Anumita Roychowdhury, Research and Advocacy and head of the air pollution and clean transportation programme at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), to learn more about the situation:
When asked about the reasons for the increase in levels of pollution and smog as compared to last year, Roychowdhury said: