NEW DELHI (AP) — An expert panel in India’s capital has declared a health emergency due to air pollution choking the city, with authorities ordering schools closed until Nov. 5.
The Supreme Court-appointed panel is also temporarily banning construction activity in the New Delhi region to control the dust in the air.
Air pollution in New Delhi generally peaks around Nov. 1 due to a combination of smog from fireworks set of during a Hindu festival and smoke from the burning of agricultural fields in the neighboring states blowing in.
The air quality index reading at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi for pollution particles in the air reached nine times the recommended WHO level on Friday. At such levels people are advised to avoid all outdoor exertion due to the health risks.