The festival Diwali may have contributed to severe air pollution in India’s capital New Delhi, but a far more worrisome practice in the country could be its major cause, according to Mashable.
Four days after Diwali, Delhiites continue to grapple with a heavy smog blanket with poor visibility and the air quality index reaching alarming levels across the city.
A forecast by NASA points to high levels of "fires and thermal anomalies" in areas such as Punjab and some portion of Pakistan. A staggering amount — 32 million tons of leftover straw — are being burned by farmers, according to the NYT.
At the time of writing, the air quality in the capital city read 943 AQI PM2.5, more than 15 times the healthy limit set by the Indian government. PM2.5 describes tiny particles suspended in the air with diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less. These particles can lodge into the lungs and cause respiratory diseases.
The state government has announced it will be vacuum cleaning and sprinkling water on arterial roads. It said a team will be formed to work on decreasing the dust from construction sites. The government will also install smoke-tappers to control emission at 75 cremation grounds.