The shroud of fog that has enveloped the Indian capital of New Delhi is said to be caused in part by the burning of crops. The practice is particularly widespread in Punjab and Haryana, adding to the usual smog, the lack of wind and the high humidity recorded in recent weeks in what is one of the most populated cities in India and the world. That is what news agencies, observers and experts are all saying — but not without controversy.
In India, sulfur dioxide emissions have increased by 50 percent since 2007 (Scientific Report, 2017). And these days in New Delhi, fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) has reached levels extremely dangerous for the health of the inhabitants. The limits set by the WHO say this should not exceed 25 ppm, whereas the data recorded on the streets of New Delhi gives numbers ranging from 400 to 700 ppm.
The Indian government has closed all schools and kindergartens until Sunday, has limited air and rail traffic, and has encouraged the use of public transport by reducing the price and increasing fares for parking lots.