**The Indian government has declared a national emergency, as air pollution in its capital, New Delhi, has reached levels more than 16 times the safe limit.
Now, more than 1,800 schools have closed down in an effort to keep children indoors, and middle-class professionals and expats have started to migrate out of the city. Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal even went so far as to call the city a “gas chamber”.**
India’s capital is the most polluted city on Earth, but there are numerous causes. They say it’s mainly due to crazy amounts of traffic, and also because most Indian autos have diesel engines. So there’s that really thick and gritty particulate matter in the air that diesel smoke contains, and it’s just out of control. Twenty million people in the city limits, and they estimate that nearly half of them have permanent, irreversible lung damage just from living there. Apparently children are more susceptible to it, so they’ve shut down a lot of the schools. Plus, Indian farmers just use fire to clear their fields, and they’re so paranoid about famine that they just burn everything this time of year, and so it partially seasonal, too.
I think it’s probably similar to a coal mining and burning city during the Industrial Revolution, except on a much grander scale.