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January 2013 may be worst Beijing smog ever recorded – New Delhi air pollution exceeds even Beijing’s

 
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02/01/2013 10:30 AM
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January 2013 may be worst Beijing smog ever recorded – New Delhi air pollution exceeds even Beijing’s
NEW DELHI (The New York Times) – Beijing’s air pollution has reached such toxic levels recently that the Chinese government is finally acknowledging the problem – and acting on it.

But in New Delhi on Thursday, air pollution levels far exceeded those in Beijing, only without any government acknowledgement or action. It is not the first time pollution in India’s capital has outpaced that in China.

The level of tiny particulates known as PM 2.5, which lodge deep in the lungs and can enter the bloodstream, was over 400 micrograms per cubic meter in various neighborhoods in and around Delhi Thursday, according to a real-time air quality monitor. That compared to Beijing’s most-recent air quality reading of 172 micrograms per cubic meter. (The “Air Quality online” link to the left of the Delhi website gives you real-time monitoring of Delhi’s pollution levels.)

At the University of Delhi’s northern campus at 12:30 p.m., the reading for PM 2.5 was 402 micrograms per cubic meter; in the eastern suburb of Noida it was 411; at the Indira Gandhi International airport it was 421.

Beijing’s government on Wednesday introduced emergency measures to curb pollution, ordering cars off the roads and factories to shut down, and warning citizens to avoid activity outside. The measures came after two straight days that the readings were higher than 300, a level the United States Environmental Protection Agency considers “hazardous.”

The forecast for Delhi’s air pollution Friday is “critical,” according to the Ministry of Earth Sciences. So far, though, Delhi’s government has made no announcements about the city’s air pollution, nor introduced any emergency measures, a spokesman for chief minister’s office said. Sheila Dikshit, the chief minister, said in an interview in December that the city could not keep up with the factors that cause air pollution.

LINK: [link to india.blogs.nytimes.com]
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