People Advised to Stay Indoors as Pollution Levels Skyrocket in Indian Capital

© AP Photo / Tsering TopgyalVehicles ply on a smog enveloped morning during a two-week experiment to reduce the number of cars to fight pollution in New Delhi, India.
Vehicles ply on a smog enveloped morning during a two-week experiment to reduce the number of cars to fight pollution in New Delhi, India. - Sputnik International
The air quality Index of Delhi is currently 311, indicating that people are inhaling dangerously toxic air. The onset of winter has worsened the situation as forecasters warn of foggy pollution-filled mornings over the next several days, prompting doctors to issue a rare health warning.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — With the approaching foggy weather accompanying the arrival of winter in India, the nation's capital of Delhi is bracing itself for pollution-filled mornings with doctors appealing to people to stay inside their homes.

According to a statement issued by the Indian meteorological department (IMD), shallow fog and mist will engulf Delhi almost every morning over the next few weeks and commuters will be subjected to long traffic snarls due to low visibility.

“While high moisture content increases the air’s capacity to hold on to pollutants, the low wind speed is failing to disperse the pollutants that are trapped in the city’s air," D Saha, head of the air quality laboratory at Central Pollution Control Board, said in a news release.

An Indian security personnel poses for media as he walks over rooftops covered in solar panels at the Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant, some 45kms from Amritsar. (File) - Sputnik International
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Several factors such as a drop in night temperatures, high moisture content in the air and low wind speed are helping in the formation of fog and mist almost every morning, according to the IMD.

SAFAR, which maintains data by the union ministry of earth sciences, has forecast levels of PM2.5 and PM10 – the primary pollutants in Delhi air over the next few days.

Organizers of the prestigious ‘Delhi Half Marathon’ annually held at this time of the year, have been asked by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) — the apex medical body of the country — to consider postponing it. The marathon is scheduled for November 19.

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Meanwhile, an association of doctors with top hospitals in Delhi have issued an advisory suggesting people, especially elders to avoid morning walks.

"Exercising is vital for health but not when we are breathing poison," said the health advisory issued as part of a 'my right to breathe' campaign initiated by doctors.

Various factors that contribute to the ever-deteriorating air quality in Delhi include vehicular emissions, stubble burning, and the residue derived from burning construction materials, according to Skymet Weather, a private weather agency.

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