Schools reopen in New Delhi with air pollution falling

Schoolchildren protest outside the Indian Environment Ministry against alarming levels of pollution in the city, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. Air pollution in New Delhi and northern Indian states peaks in the winter as farmers in neighboring agricultural regions set fire to clear land after the harvest and prepare for the next crop season. The pollution in the Indian capital also peaks after Diwali celebrations, the Hindu festival of light, when people set off fireworks. (AP Photo/Shonal Ganguly)

NEW DELHI (AP) — Schools reopened on Wednesday in the Indian capital with toxic air level coming down by more than half since authorities declared a health emergency last weekend.

With strong winds blowing away pollutants, the air quality index at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi read 155 as compared to 500 over the weekend that was 10 times the recommended WHO level.

Air pollution in New Delhi peaks around Nov. 1 due to smog from festival fireworks and smoke from the burning of stubbles in agricultural fields.

A Supreme Court-appointed panel temporarily banned construction activity in the New Delhi region to control the dust in the air.

Authorities also barred smoke-spewing cargo trucks from city streets, experimented at limiting the number of cars on the road and tried to snuff out stubble and garbage fires and ordered builders to cover construction sites to stop dust from enveloping the area.

But the battle is not over as authorities tackle a large amount of toxic foam floating in the Yamuna River, caused partly by high ammonia levels emanating from industrial pollutants. A weekend Hindu festival saw thousands of devotees offering prayers standing in the foam.

Water from the river is chemically treated before being supplied to Delhi’s nearly 20 million residents as drinking water.

“The water is absolutely black in color,” said Hari Lal, a New Delhi resident who was on the river bank Wednesday. “The water is all chemical.”

Kujan Sahani, a worker from eastern Bihar state, complained that his nose and eyes burned and he was feeling breathlessness.

Environmental activists say many rivers across India have become dirtier as the country’s economy develops, with city sewage, farming pesticides and industrial effluents freely flowing into waterways despite laws against polluting.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Recent Videos

KX Storm Team #OneMinuteForecast w/Tom Schrader 11/13

Thumbnail for the video titled "KX Storm Team #OneMinuteForecast w/Tom Schrader 11/13"

How Lake Sakakawea Can Create Its Own Weather

Thumbnail for the video titled "How Lake Sakakawea Can Create Its Own Weather"

Amber's Wednesday Morning One Minute Forecast 11/13

Thumbnail for the video titled "Amber's Wednesday Morning One Minute Forecast 11/13"

Wednesday: Decreasing clouds with slightly cooler temps

Thumbnail for the video titled "Wednesday: Decreasing clouds with slightly cooler temps"

Holiday Book Drive

Thumbnail for the video titled "Holiday Book Drive"

Region Volleyball 11.12.19

Thumbnail for the video titled "Region Volleyball 11.12.19"

Women's College Basketball 11.12.19

Thumbnail for the video titled "Women's College Basketball 11.12.19"

Garrison Water

Thumbnail for the video titled "Garrison Water"

LESSENING RESTRICTIONS PKG

Thumbnail for the video titled "LESSENING RESTRICTIONS PKG"

Beulah Update

Thumbnail for the video titled "Beulah Update"

UMary

Thumbnail for the video titled "UMary"

Kidder County

Thumbnail for the video titled "Kidder County"

Flasher VBall

Thumbnail for the video titled "Flasher VBall"

YHF

Thumbnail for the video titled "YHF"

KX Storm Team Full Evening Forecast w/Tom Schrader 11/12

Thumbnail for the video titled "KX Storm Team Full Evening Forecast w/Tom Schrader 11/12"

Recovery Through Art

Thumbnail for the video titled "Recovery Through Art"

DAPL

Thumbnail for the video titled "DAPL"

Bracelets

Thumbnail for the video titled "Bracelets"

Ideal Option

Thumbnail for the video titled "Ideal Option"

Recovering When Busy

Thumbnail for the video titled "Recovering When Busy"
More Video

KX News Trending Stories

Don't Miss

Daily Pledge

More Daily Pledge