NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Air quality in India’s capital, New Delhi, deteriorated sharply on Tuesday as wind died down just as the burning of crop waste in fields sent smoke billowing across the north of the country.
A smoggy haze settled over the city, reducing visibility significantly, as the Air Quality Index (AQI) rose past 300 on a scale of 500, indicating “very poor” conditions that pose a risk of respiratory problems, according to the federal pollution control board’s guidance.
“Wind speed was supposed to pick up due to a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal, but that did not happen,” SAFAR, India’s main environment monitoring agency, said in its daily bulletin.
Lower wind speeds let deadly pollutants like PM2.5 particles hang in the air.
PM2.5, particles that are less than 2.5 microns in diameter, can be carried deep into the lungs, causing deadly diseases, including cancer and cardiac