The smog in New Delhi is so thick it is visible from space. 20 million people are being smothered in what local authorities are calling a gas chamber
The Indian capital of New Delhi has been struggling with the worst smog levels in years. The suffocating black fog is affecting the health of local citizens and is causing issues for flights.
“We are monitoring advisories as the region remains under a public health emergency, and are coordinating with respective government agencies,” representatives from United Airlines told Bloomberg.
Passengers travelling to India with United should pay attention to possible schedule changes on company’s website or their mobile application.
India’s biggest carrier IndiGo have not cancelled any flights, according to a company spokesperson. Other airlines flying to Delhi are monitoring the situation.
The smog stifling millions in the Indian capital has become so thick that it is clearly visible from space. NASA satellite pictures display it as a milky blanket covering the northern part of the Indian subcontinent.
Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi, has called the city a “gas chamber” because the smog has gotten more severe since late October. More than 20 million people living in the area are affected.
According to the U.S. embassy monitor, the deadliest particle, PM2.5, was measured at 495 micrograms per cubic meter measured by 9 am local time on Monday. This gets deep into a person’s lungs and can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
This is over 40 times the level that is considered safe by the World Health Organization. Even levels over 300 are extremely hazardous. The limit set by Indian law is six times lower than the measured amount.
The Washington Post has reported that hospitals are seeing a surge in patients with respiratory problems.
“We’ve seen around a 30 to 35 per cent increase of patients in the past couple of days,” Anupam Sibal, group medical director and senior paediatrician at Apollo Hospitals, told the Post. “It wasn’t like this five years ago. Children with respiratory problems are finding their issues are exacerbated. It affects everyone.”