Deadly smog has returned to Delhi. Air pollution reached several times the level suggested by the World Health Organisation. People were told to stay indoors and not walk on the streets of the world’s most polluted city. Doctors declared a state of emergency and some schools in the city stayed closed.
Smog in northern India is a big problem, especially during the winter months. From November to March cold temperatures force pollutants and dirt particles closer to the ground, mixing with the foggy air. Low wind speeds and dust from construction sites have also contributed to high pollution levels in the area.
Environmentalists say that factories and traffic are the biggest causes of smog. In addition, farmers in northern India burn the leftovers of crops after harvest and therefore produce more smoke.
Critics say that Indian government is not doing enough to protect India’s second-largest city. New measures took effect last October. Traffic became more regulated and several power plants were shut down. Authorities also want to restrict the personal use of cars to every second day, a measure that already worked in the past.
Last November Delhi was hit by the highest air pollution levels in 20 years, forcing over a million children to stay at home. Researchers claim that 2.5 million Indians die of pollution every year.
- air pollution = when the air becomes dirty through factories and cars
- authorities = official organisation or a government department that has the power to make decisions
- cause = reason
- claim = to say that something is true
- construction sites = places where new houses are built
- contribute = to help make something happen
- declare = to say something officially, in public
- environmentalist = person who cares about nature and the world around us
- especially = above all
- dust = dry powder made up of small bits of dirt
- fog = cloudy air near the ground which is difficult to see through
- force = to make something happen
- government = the people who rule a country
- harvest = when crops are gathered from the fields
- in addition = also
- leftovers = here: leaves and stems that are left over when crops are harvested
- measure = action
- particle = very small piece of something
- pollutant = substance that makes air and water dirty
- power station = building that produces energy and electricity
- regulated = controlled
- researcher = person who studies a topic closely in order to find out more about it
- restrict = limit; control
- several = many
- shut down = close
- smog = a mixture of smoke and fog
- state of emergency = when the government gives itself special powers in order to try to get a dangerous situation under control
- take effect = when something starts to work
- therefore = that is why
- World Health Organisation = international organisation that helps countries improve their people’s health by giving medicine and providing information about diseases