A Foggy Day (In Delhi Town)

November 14, 2017

Good God, but the air pollution here in Delhi is bad. Quite startlingly bad. I thought Hong Kong was pretty smoggy, but it’s got nothing on this place.

Commuters make their way amidst the heavy smog in New Delhi

The government has declared the toxic air pollution an ‘emergency situation’ and have temporarily shut construction sites and a coal-fired power station, closed schools and planned to introduce traffic rationing.

The concentrations of harmful particles so apparently high they cannot be measured by most air quality instruments. The level of so-called PM2.5 pollutants, which can breach the blood-brain barrier, have reached at least 999 in parts of the city, as high as the measuring machines go, and more than 16 times the safe limit of 60.

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The government had planned to introduce a scheme to only allow cars to drive on odd or even days depending on the last digit of their registration numbers. However they scrapped this at the last minute because some green government council objected to exemptions for women, or something.  Planes and trains have been cancelled, but, as usual, the government is busy arguing with other regional governments; currently about dealing with the ‘menace’ of crop stubble burning, rather than actually doing anything concrete. A politician asked who was asked about what the government was doing for farmers, apparently said, “We have been doing more than we can.” Which is sweet, if clueless.

And a plan to use helicopters to fight the air pollution, by sprinkling water on it, has been grounded, because the choppers can’t operate in such thick smog. You really couldn’t make it up.

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Apparently the problem gets worse at the start of the winter, with the celebration of Diwali, where people let off lots of fireworks. So this year the Delhi authorities banned fireworks. Which made not a whit of difference to anyone: our fairly quiet street was like the Somme until 0300hrs, and visibility was down to five metres the next morning. The suddenly cold weather traps the particulates and they don’t get blown away.

Blossom, who is a delicate little flower, has already gone down with a chest infection, and doctors are saying that going out for a walk is equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes. That would at least make life considerably cheaper.

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2 Responses to “A Foggy Day (In Delhi Town)”

  1. Come Home! Come and stay and breath in the gorgeous fresh Dorset air x

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