India’s Capital Delhi is the most polluted city in the world, according to IQ AirVisual, a Swiss-based group that gathers air-quality data globally. The data also showed Kolkata and Mumbai on its list as the world’s sixth and ninth most polluted cities.

AirVisual’s data is updated frequently so the Air Quality Index count and the ranking changes during the day.

“Delhi experienced its longest period of hazardous air pollution on record during late October and early November 2019,” AirVisual said. “For nine consecutive days from Sunday, October 27, 2019, overall Delhi air quality was in the hazardous zone, a level at which the entire population is likely to be affected.”

Four Chinese cities Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Beijing were also in the top 10 polluted list. The remaining three cities include Pakistan’s Lahore at the third spot, Tashkent in Uzbekistan at fourth and Kathmandu in Nepal at the seventh.

Schools in Delhi were ordered to close on Thursday and Friday as the city’s air quality index hit dangerously high levels. According to data from government pollution monitor System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research, the air quality has been in severe zone since Tuesday. On Saturday, the Central Pollution Control Board reported an Air Quality Index of 402 in the National Capital Region at 11 am.

While the pollution control board uses 24-hour average data, the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ SAFAR reports real-time figures. It recorded an AQI reading of 404 at 12.30 pm.

The Supreme Court on Friday expressed concern that the odd-even road rationing scheme in Delhi was not effective in reducing pollution. The Centre claimed it was examining the feasibility of putting up “smog towers” to reduce pollution in the city. The towers are expected to suck in surrounding air, pass it through a system of filters, and eject clean air.

Earlier this month, a public health emergency was declared as the air quality plummeted to hazardous levels. Several students appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, on the occasion of Children’s Day, to take steps to ensure they breathe clean air.

Air quality at “severe” levels can seriously impact those with existing diseases and also affect healthy people, according to government guidance.

Also read: As Delhi pollution levels soar, customers throng an ‘oxygen bar’ for a breath of fresh air

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