Forget Beijing, India’s largest city New Delhi is suffering far worse air pollution.
The New York Times reports that a key measurement used to test air quality has found that it is more than twice as hazardous in Delhi as in the Chinese capital.
Earlier this week, a separate Indian measure also showed record levels of air pollution.
The renewed attention over smog in Asian cities comes after a blanket of thick, noxious cloud covered Beijing.
The hazard prompted the Chinese government to order cars off the roads and temporarily close factories.
Referring to the pollution in Delhi, environmental scientist Anumita Roy Choudhary warned that the toxic haze could start to cause serious respiratory ailments:
“How severe the smog is going to be will depend entirely on the level of pollution that you are generating in the city and that is becoming really impossible,” Choudhary said.
“If you look at the pollution sources in Delhi, what is increasing very rapidly are the vehicles. But you do have other sources, there are power plants, there is industry, there are open burning problems,” she added.
Delhi is not the only city growing faster than nature can cope with. The World Health Organisation lists six Indian metro areas among the world’s 10 most polluted:
The government is working on a new plan to improve air quality but it is unlikely to be implemented for months, if not years.