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AFP
November 14, 2019

Delhi smog hits ‘emergency’ levels

World

AFP
November 14, 2019

NEW DELHI: The Indian capital’s notorious air pollution hit "emergency" levels again on Wednesday, coinciding with a visit by Britain’s Prince Charles.

New Delhi has been choked on and off for weeks, as industrial and traffic pollution -- combined with smoke from crop stubble burning -- cast a toxic pall over the metropolis. For the second time in 10 days, the amount of 2.5PM -- the deadly tiny particles that get into the bloodstream and lungs -- hit "emergency" levels, nearly 20 times the safe limit set by the World Health Organisation.

With the government facing new criticism over steps taken to counter the pollution, Prince Charles visited the Indian Meteorology Department as part of his two-day visit to India. Charles, frequently outspoken on green issues, was briefed on the crisis by Sunita Narain, a leading environmental activist.

She did not reveal details of her royal talks, but in a commentary last week said: "Every breath we take is poison." India’s Supreme Court joined criticism of the government on Wednesday saying authorities had made "little constructive efforts" to curb pollution.

The court has ordered a new clampdown on stubble burning -- in theory already banned -- on farms in states surrounding the capital. It was acting because the problem "affects the vast majority of Indians."

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