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Delhi is choking

Harald Franzen
November 10, 2017

At COP23 in Bonn, the world discusses emissions reductions. Meanwhile, Delhi is experiencing some of the worst smog ever.

Indian pedestrians walking near the India Gate monument amid heavy smog in New Delhi
Image: Getty Images/AFP/D. Faget

As the world meets in Bonn for COP23 to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and work towards a more sustainable future, on the other side of the world, India's capital Delhi is suffocating in record-breaking smog. As is, the city is known as the world's capital with the worst air quality. Making things worse is the approaching winter. While the colder season won't bring snow to the city of 20 million, the cooler air keeps smog near the ground, effectively trapping it in the city.

Another factor that has contributed to the bad air quality is Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, which took place recently. The five-day festival involves the burning of large amounts of fireworks and brought a lot of additionall traffic to the megacity.

As a first measure, the city government has lowered fares for public transportation and hiked up the cost of parking to discourage driving and thus reduce traffic emissions. It has also ordered a closing of all schools for the rest of the week.